6.3 Alen Frost's Model

6.3 Alen Frost’s Model

          Nonaka's SECI model describes knowledge conversion using explicit and tacit distinctions. In chapter 1, we have discussed the distinction between embedded knowledge (knowledge locked in rules, processes and routines) and knowledge embodied in people (limited Image is available in printed copy of the booktacit knowledge).  The managerial requirements for these two types of knowledge are quite different. So, if the goal is to look at specific knowledge management and KMS initiatives, it would be particularly useful to extend the scope of SECI model to cover all three types of knowledge.

          Alen Frost   attempted to extend SECI to include embedded knowledge in to a SECI knowledge conversion model. For this he recommends: following four new processes:

  • Integration: Embedded to embedded - New embedded elements (e.g. processes or routines) are integrated into the existing embedded knowledge. One example of this might be when organizational cultures are merged and the common practices of each culture are shared, adapted, and integrated into one another.
  • Analyzation:  Embedded to explicit - The process, routine, etc. is analyzed so as to extract and codify the knowledge in a form that can easily be transmitted. Essentially one asks the questions "Why does this work the way it does?" or "Why do we do things this way?"
  • Internalization:  Embedded to tacit (embodied) - This is the same process as explicit to tacit. The user internalizes the knowledge embedded in a process/routine/etc. through use and learning. In some cases this might manifest itself as an intuitive understanding of how something should be done. The conversion enables the user to apply the knowledge to a different situation/ process/product/etc.
  • Formalization: Explicit to embedded - Explicit knowledge is embedded into processes, routines, cultural practices, etc. For example, if the IT department has learned that two programs tend to create instability in the system, they may embed that into a set rule that “never install program A and program B on the same machine”.
  • Formalization:  Tacit (embodied) to embedded - Tacit knowledge is embedded into processes, routines, cultural practices, etc. If a consultancy firm, through many years of practice, has gained an understanding into how to approach and negotiate with clients, they may attempt to formalize this into a "best practice" guide.

          ;Alen Frost’s new extended SECI knowledge conversion model would thus have the following conversion processes (see Fig 6.2):

  1. Socialization - tacit to tacit
  2. Externalization- tacit to explicit
  3. Combination - explicit to explicit
  4. Internalization - explicit to tacit
  5. Integration - Embedded to embedded
  6. Analyzation - Embedded to explicit
  7. Internalization - Embedded to tacit (embodied)
  8. Formalization - Explicit to embedded

          Due to the additional process, the Alen Frost’s Model is able to handle three types of knowledge – tacit, explicit and embedded.