Managing Flow by Ikujiro Nonaka, Ryoko Toyama, an Toru Hirata
The authors posit an awful lot in this book. Needlessly sometimes, as when they could have tied their notions of information propagation into Deci & Ryan's competency, relatedness, and autonomy theory of motivation to replace their notion of ba (colocated knowledge space) with established psych work.
They leave untouched the tension between competency and adaptation to better processes (their phronesis), which underpins their theory. Without understanding how to reduce let alone measure the friction of moving to new processes, implementors can find themselves with costs of transition greater than the expected savings.
Whether Nonaka's framework (Socialization, Externalization, Combination, Internalization (SECI)) is a testable theory is yet to be fully fleshed out. At present, the framework is not formulated with testable propositions articulated; but in my view it lends itself to hypothesis formulation and testing. Testable propositions might be: (i) firms that follow the SECI process have higher R&D productivity; (ii) firms where top management has a clearly articulated knowledge visionn perform better; (iii) large firms with engaged middle managers are more innovative; (iv) firms without widely articulated superordinate goals will perform poorly; and (v) strategic planning is neither necessary or (sic) sufficient for financial success...
I have high confidence that some statistically significant results will be forthcoming.
In the SECI spiral, the tacit knowledge possessed by individuals is externalized and thereby transformed into explicit knowledge so it can be shared with others and enriched by their individual viewpointsto become new knowledge. It is then internalized once more by a larger number of individuals as a new, richer, subjective knowledge that becomes the basis for starting another new cycle of knowledge creation.
At Toyota, dialogue that pursues essence is encourage in daily operations at every organizational level through a practice called "Ask why five times".