SECI model
(Nonaka Takeuchi)

Knowledge Center

Summary, forum, best practices, expert tips and information sources.

Contributed by: Tom De Geytere

SECI model Nonaka TakeuchiWhat is the SECI model? Description

Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi propose a model of the knowledge creating process to understand the dynamic nature of knowledge creation, and to manage such a process effectively: the SECI model. It consist of 3 elements:

  1. SECI
  2. Ba
  3. Knowledge Assets

These 3 elements interact with each other organically and dynamically. The knowledge assets of an organization are mobilized and shared in 'Ba' whereas the tacit knowledge held by individuals is converted and amplified by the spiral of knowledge through:

  • Socialization
  • Externalization
  • Combination
  • Internalization

The three elements should be integrated under clear leadership so that the organization can create knowledge continuously and dynamically: it must become a discipline for organizational members.


The creation of knowledge is a continuous process of dynamic interactions between tacit and explicit knowledge. The four modes of knowledge conversion interact in the spiral of knowledge creation. The spiral becomes larger in scale as it moves up through organizational levels, and can trigger new spirals of knowledge creation.
SECO model four categories of Ba
Socialization. Sharing tacit knowledge through face-to-face communication or shared experience. An example is an apprenticeship.
Externalization. Developing concepts, which embed the combined tacit knowledge. And which enable its communication.
Combination. Combination of various elements of explicit knowledge: building a prototype is an example.
Internalization. Closely linked to learning by doing, the explicit knowledge becomes part of the individual's knowledge base (e.g. mental model) and becomes an asset for the organization.


This difficult concept (there is no exact translation of the word) can be defined as a shared context in which knowledge is shared, created and utilized through interaction.

The diagram illustrates the various types of Ba, each offering a context for a specific step in the knowledge-creating process.

Examples of the categories, using Seven-Eleven (Japanese convenience shops):

  • Originating Ba: the shop floor, it enables people to interact with each other and with customers.
  • Dialoguing Ba: the tacit knowledge of local employees is used to create sales forecasts, in dialogue with each other.
  • Systemizing Ba: the forecasts of sales are tested against the sales results and are fed back to the local stores.
  • Exercising Ba: using this information, and comparing it to reality, staff improve their skills and ability to make the forecasts.

Four categories of knowledge assetsKnowledge assets

These are company-specific resources that are indispensable to create values for the firm. They are the inputs, outputs, and moderating factors, of the knowledge-creating process.

To effectively manage knowledge creation and exploitation, a company has to 'map' its inventory of knowledge assets. Cataloguing is however not enough: knowledge assets are dynamic; new knowledge assets can be created from existing knowledge assets.


The role of leadership is illustrated in the next diagram:
SECI - role of leadership

Origin of the SECI model. History

The model from Nonaka and Takeuchi is based on Polanyi's distinction between tacit and explicit knowledge (1983) and provides an understanding of knowledge creation and management from a Japanese business culture perspective.

Strengths of the SECI model. Benefits

  • Appreciates the dynamic nature of knowledge and knowledge creation.
  • Provides a framework for management of the relevant processes.

Limitations of the SECI model. Disadvantages

  • It is based on a study of Japanese organizations, which heavily rely on tacit knowledge: employees are often with a company for life.
  • The linearity of the concept: can the spiral jump steps? Can it go counter-clockwise?

Book: Ikujiro Nonaka, Hirotaka Takeuchi - The Knowledge-Creating Company -

Special Interest Group

SECI model Special Interest Group.

Special Interest Group (626 members)


Forum about SECI model.

What is the Best Way to Transfer Tacit Knowledge?
In my opinion, the SECI model is essence of knowledge management. With this model, we can grow to complex models creatin (...)
16 reactions
Nonaka's SECI Process versus Peter Senge's Learning Organization
How does Nonaka's SECI process support the Learning Organization? What is the difference between Peter Senge's Fifth Di (...)
6 reactions
🔥 NEW Reasons for Lack of Determination to Knowledge Management and Development
Several complex organizations are not yet engaged clearly with a strong determination in the process of knowledge manage (...)
4 reactions
Digital Learning Platform Based on SECI
I am setting up a digital learning platform for staff members of many different organisations about the dynamics of diff (...)
3 reactions
How does SECI Lead to Improvement of Organizational Performance?
How will the SECI knowledge management processes help to achieve organizational performance which comprises of operation (...)
1 reactions
Best Practices

The top-rated discussion topics about SECI model. Here you will find the most valuable ideas and practical suggestions.

🥇 Implementing SECI in an Organization
Can anyone explain how an implementation of SECI works and plz explain with an example? Thanks (...)
2 reactions

🥈 Relevant for Knowledge Management
I found this article very interesting for my course work (...)
0 reactions

🥉 The Meaning of the Japanese Word Ba
I need a bit more on "Ba". Is this word coming from Japanese? And if, yes, is it written with which kanji for "ba"? ( (...)
1 reactions

Advantages Disadvantages Between SECI Model and Other Models
What are the main advantages/disadvantages (and other main differences) between SECI model and other models? (...)
6 reactions

(How) Does the SECI Model Work in Western Cultures?
The SECI concept was developed (and works extremely well) for Japanese businesses (culture). I would be interested in ho (...)
7 reactions

Commonality of SECI Model
Is the SECI model the most used knowledge management model? Or, at least, the most 'adapted' one? (...)
1 reactions

SECI for Integration between eTOM and KM System
The SECI model has been implemented in many industries. Telecom industry has eTOM as business process framework with cr (...)
0 reactions

Capturing Experiences
The best model of capturing data from those who posses experience/s. Sadly overlooked by Commercial & Research entities. (...)
0 reactions

SECI is a knowledge management process
The SECI model can be easily appreciated as a KM process comprising (1) harnessing existing and creating new knowledge t (...)
0 reactions

SECI Model as a tool for developing an effective teaching pedagogy.
My paper entitled "effects of mountain climbing learning analogy in the achievement and attitudes of university freshmen (...)
1 reactions

SECI Software Tools?
Hi Everybody. I am looking for a software solution to support a SECI implementation. Does anybody has a software produc (...)
1 reactions

Recognition SECI Model
I believe the SECI Model developed by Nonaka and Takeuchi has come to be the most recognised and accepted model of knowl (...)
0 reactions

History of Knowledge Management
I found that other models and concepts came after SECI model. Referring to history, - "Since 1975, the knowledge manag (...)
1 reactions

Linking SECI Model to Innovation
I have some thoughts on how Knowledge Management and Innovation are linked... There are a number of models for implement (...)
1 reactions

Expert Tips

Advanced insights about SECI model. Here you will find professional advices by experts.

Barriers that Hinder Effective Knowledge Sharing

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Positive Effects of Age Diversity on Company Productivity and (Tacit) Knowledge Sharing

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Knowledge Management Focal Point

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Information Sources

Various sources of information regarding SECI model. Here you will find powerpoints, videos, news, etc. to use in your own lectures and workshops.

Revisiting Knowledge Management

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Leveraging Cognition for Competitive Advantage:A Knowledge-Based Strategy Process

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Discovering Knowledge Management Forces

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Introduction and Summary of SECI

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Knowledge Creation: The SECI Model

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Knowledge Sharing and Organizational Learning through Communities of Practices

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SECI Model Diagrams

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Knowledge Transfer in the E-world

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3 Pillars of KM

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N-Form Organization

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Compare with the SECI model: Bridging Epistemologies  |  Organizational Learning  |  Organizational Memory  |  Action Learning  |  Knowledge Management (Collison & Parcell)

Return to Management Hub: Knowledge & Intangibles  |  Leadership

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Special Interest Group Leader
Alkhaly Mohamed Tahey Conde
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