Knowledge Management Models

Knowledge Management Models provide frameworks for capturing, sharing, and leveraging organizational knowledge to drive innovation and performance. These models offer structured approaches to managing knowledge assets, fostering collaboration, and facilitating learning within the organization. Two prominent knowledge management models are Nonaka and Takeuchi’s SECI model and Wiig’s Knowledge Management Cycle, each offering unique perspectives on knowledge creation, transfer, and utilization.

Nonaka and Takeuchi’s SECI Model

Developed by Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi, the SECI model outlines four modes of knowledge conversion: Socialization, Externalization, Combination, and Internalization.

  1. Socialization (Tacit to Tacit): In the Socialization mode, knowledge is shared through direct interactions and personal experiences among individuals. Tacit knowledge, which is deeply rooted in personal insights, experiences, and beliefs, is transferred through observation, imitation, and shared activities.
  2. Externalization (Tacit to Explicit): Externalization involves articulating tacit knowledge into explicit forms, such as documents, diagrams, or models. Through dialogue, reflection, and storytelling, individuals externalize their tacit knowledge into tangible formats that can be communicated and shared with others.
  3. Combination (Explicit to Explicit): In the Combination mode, explicit knowledge is combined and reconfigured to create new knowledge. This often occurs through structured processes such as synthesis, analysis, and categorization, where existing explicit knowledge assets are integrated to generate new insights, ideas, or solutions.
  4. Internalization (Explicit to Tacit): Internalization refers to the process of individuals internalizing explicit knowledge and incorporating it into their tacit knowledge base through practice, application, and experience. By applying explicit knowledge in real-world contexts and reflecting on outcomes, individuals assimilate new knowledge and skills into their personal repertoire.

Wiig’s Knowledge Management Cycle

Developed by Karl-Erik Sveiby and articulated by Karl Wiig, the Knowledge Management Cycle consists of four stages: Create, Store, Share, and Apply.

  1. Create: In the Create stage, knowledge is generated through various activities such as research, innovation, problem-solving, and experience. Individuals and teams generate new insights, ideas, and solutions that contribute to the organization’s knowledge base.
  2. Store: The Store stage involves capturing and organizing knowledge in accessible repositories, databases, or systems. Knowledge assets are documented, classified, and stored in a structured manner to facilitate retrieval and reuse by individuals across the organization.
  3. Share: Sharing knowledge is crucial for maximizing its value and impact. In the Share stage, knowledge is disseminated and exchanged among individuals, teams, and departments through communication channels, collaboration platforms, and knowledge-sharing initiatives.
  4. Apply: The ultimate goal of knowledge management is to apply knowledge to achieve desired outcomes and drive organizational performance. In the Apply stage, individuals and teams leverage knowledge assets to inform decision-making, solve problems, innovate, and improve processes or products.


Small businesses can apply knowledge management models in various ways to enhance organizational effectiveness and innovation, including:

  • Knowledge Capture: Identify and capture valuable knowledge assets, including tacit and explicit knowledge, through formal and informal channels such as interviews, discussions, and documentation.
  • Knowledge Sharing: Facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration among employees through training programs, communities of practice, and digital collaboration tools.
  • Knowledge Transfer: Develop processes and mechanisms for transferring knowledge between individuals, teams, and departments to ensure continuity and scalability.
  • Learning Culture: Foster a culture of continuous learning, experimentation, and knowledge sharing where employees are encouraged to contribute, explore new ideas, and learn from both successes and failures.
  • Innovation and Problem-Solving: Harness organizational knowledge to drive innovation, problem-solving, and decision-making processes by leveraging diverse perspectives and insights.


Knowledge Management Models, such as Nonaka and Takeuchi’s SECI model and Wiig’s Knowledge Management Cycle, offer small businesses structured frameworks for capturing, sharing, and leveraging organizational knowledge to drive innovation and performance. By implementing effective knowledge management practices, businesses can enhance collaboration, learning, and decision-making, ultimately leading to increased competitiveness, agility, and success in today’s dynamic business environment. Through strategic investments in knowledge management initiatives and a commitment to fostering a culture of knowledge sharing and innovation, small businesses can unlock their full potential and achieve sustainable growth.