This study presents a critical examination of Nonaka and Takeuchi's theory about knowledge-creating companies (1995), taken as one example of contemporary management theories concerning innovation and learning. Two main questions are investigated. First, how is the learning of workers organized in the knowledge creation theory? Second, how is their learning related to the work they perform? Answers to these questions are sought from case-study research into work-related learning projects (Poell 1998) and from theoretical notions about learning networks in various work types (Van der Krogt 1998). Our first conclusion is that Nonaka and Takeuchi seem to assume that workers will learn only within the boundaries set by management. They do not, however, take into account that workers organize a great deal of learning themselves, frequently irrespective of management expectations. Second, Nonaka and Takeuchi expect workers to learn according to rigid bureaucratic principles in a work context emphasizing innovation. The theory of knowledge creation does not show how these contrary principles might be successfully integrated.
|Journal||Human Resource Development International|
|Publication status||Published - 2003|