6.11 Inkpen & Dinur's KM Model

6.11 Inkpen & Dinur’s KM Model

Image available in printed copy of the book           Andrew Inkpen and Adva Dinur (1999) introduce an empirical model of Knowledge Management designed to explain the process of learning and knowledge transfer between partners in strategic alliances. The model is based on the idea that an organization is a dynamic system of processes involving different types of knowledge. Through this model the authors try to explain how organizations acquire and manage new knowledge, particularly with respect to alliance arrangements. The proposed model distinguishes between tacit and explicit knowledge and holds that a key challenge is the conversion of tacit individual knowledge to explicit organizational competence.

           They state that, “… organizational knowledge creation should be viewed as a process whereby the knowledge held by individuals is amplified and internalized as part of an organization’s kowledge base" (Inkpen & Dinur, 1999: 456).

           Knowledge conversion, creation and learning occur in a multi-level context that invokes different processes depending on the level in play. At the individual level, interpretation and sense-making are key; at the group level, integration; and at the organizational level, integration and institutionalization. Organizations therefore have, "…a range of types of knowledge and carriers of knowledge" (Inkpen & Dinur, 1998: 457) and the issue becomes understanding the importance of different types of knowledge specific to an organizational situation, and how organizations transform and manage this knowledge.

           They propose Fig 14 as the foundation of this model. The vertical dimension of this model – tacitness – is a continuum that carries the assumption that the more tacit the knowledge, the more difficult it is to codify and transfer. The horizontal dimension straightforwardly distinguishes the different organizational levels at which knowledge may reside. This base model is joined by the notion of mechanisms and processes, either formal or informal, which are invoked to encourage or accomplish knowledge transfer. Forty two-partner joint ventures in the automotive industry formed the empirical context in which Inkpen and Dinur applied this model to investigate knowledge creation and transfer. Their results, which are significantly abridged for present purposes, outline the various ways in which different types of knowledge may be transferred and integrated across the organizational levels of a partner participating in an alliance.