The Nonaka and Takeuchi Knowledge Spiral Model page 2

The SECI model is a well known conceptual model that was first proposed by Nonaka (1991 and expanded by Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995). It describes how explicit and tacit knowledge is generated, transferred, and recreated in organizations. While it was first proposed within the context of business organizations, the model can easily be applied to education, as explored by Lin, Lin, and Huang (2008) and Yeh, Huang, and Yeh (2011) (

Making personal knowledge available to others in the company is at the core of this KM model. This type of knowledge creation process takes place continuously and it occurs at all levels of the organization. In many cases, the creation of knowledge occurs in an unexpected or unplanned way (Dalkir, 2011, p.65).

There are four modes of knowledge conversion in the Nonaka and Takeuchi model of knowledge conversion:

  1. socialization (tacit to tacit),
  2. externalization (tacit to explicit),
  3. combination (explicit to explicit), and
  4. internalization (explicit to tacit). 








Socialization is the process of sharing tacit knowledge through observation, imitation, practice, and participation in formal and informal communities (Yeh et al., 2011). The socialization process is usually preempted by the creation of a physical or virtual space where a given community can interact on a social level (

Externalization is the process of articulating tacit knowledge into explicit concepts (Yeh et al., 2011). Since tacit knowledge is highly internalized, this process is the key to knowledge sharing and creation (

Combination is the process of integrating concepts into a knowledge system (Yeh et al., 2011) ( Some examples would be a synthesis in the form of a review report, a trend analysis, a brief executive summary, or a new database to organize content (Dalkir, 2011, p.68).

Internalization is the process of embodying explicit knowledge into tacit knowledge (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995) (


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