Investigating the appropriateness of the theory of organisational knowledge creation as a management model for practice-led research

22 April 2016

This article explores ways in which current practice of conducting multipractitioner practiceled research projects in the creative disciplines (Graphic Design, History of Art and Creative Writing) at the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, may benefit from the application of a specific managerial theory which focuses on knowledge creation. To this end, the concepts propounded in the theory of organisational knowledge creation, as conceptualised by Nonaka and colleagues, are investigated and a number of compatible and complementary aspects shared by this theory and practice-led research are highlighted. Guiding this article was the argument that the conceptualisation of knowledge as a subjective and socially constructed phenomenon is central to both this theory and research mode. Furthermore, I argue that an integration of tacit and explicit knowledge provides for a holistic view of knowledge that would not be possible if one were to view knowledge in reductively scientific terms. Consequently, the transdisciplinary practice-based research project, Transgressions and boundaries of the page is analysed in terms of the socialisation, externalisation, combination and internalisation (SECI) knowledge conversion modes, which are the driving force, facilitating the move from tacit to explicit knowledge by means of social interaction. The aim of the Transgressions and boundaries of the page project was to create an exhibition of artists’ books, which would form the beginning of a knowledge creation cycle. Forty artists were invited to create artists’ books for exhibitions held in Stellenbosch, Potchefstroom and Johannesburg in 2010. Those artists involved were selected from various fields of arts as well as related fields. It is concluded that the utilisation of knowledge management in multipractitioner practice-led research projects such as this one, within the creative disciplines at the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, will facilitate a better understanding of knowledge management and will yield more effective knowledge creation in that both tacit and explicit knowledge is utilised optimally