Managing knowledge in organizations: A nonaka’s SECI model operationalization

Maria Luisa Farnese, Barbara Barbieri, Antonio Chirumbolo, Gerardo Patriotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (SciVal)


Purpose: The SECI model (Nonaka, 1994) is the best-known conceptual framework for understanding knowledge generation processes in organizations. To date, however, empirical support for this framework has been overlooked. The present study aims to provide an evidence-based groundwork for the SECI model by testing a multidimensional questionnaire Knowledge Management SECI Processes Questionnaire (KMSP-Q) designed to capture the knowledge conversion modes theorized by Nonaka. Methodology: In a twofold study, the SECI model was operationalized via the KMSP-Q. Specifically, Study One tested its eight-dimensional structure through exploratory and confirmatory factorial analyses on 372 employees from different sectors. Study Two examined the construct validity and reliability by replicating the KMSP-Q factor structure in knowledge-intensive contexts (on a sample of 466 health-workers), and by investigating the unique impact of each dimension on some organizational outcomes (i.e., performance, innovativeness, collective efficacy). Findings: The overall findings highlighted that the KMSP-Q is a psychometrically robust questionnaire in terms of both dimensionality and construct validity, the different knowledge generation dimensions being specifically linked to different organizational outcomes. Research/Practical Implications: The KMSP-Q actualizes and provides empirical consistency to the theory underlying the SECI model. Moreover, it allows for the monitoring of an organization’s capability to manage new knowledge and detect the strengths/weaknesses of KM-related policies and programs. Originality/Value: This paper proposes a comprehensive measure of knowledge generation in work contexts, highlighting processes that organizations are likely to promote in order to improve their performance through the management of their knowledge resources.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2730
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2019


  • Knowledge management
  • Measurement
  • Nonaka
  • Questionnaire
  • SECI model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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