Ikujiro Nonaka

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Ikujiro Nonaka (野中 郁次郎 Nonaka Ikujirō?, born May 10, 1935) is a Japanese organizational theorist and Professor Emeritus at the Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy of the Hitotsubashi University, best known for his study of knowledge management.


Nonaka was born in Tokyo in 1935 and as a child he lived through the Japanese defeat by the West during World War II. His nationalist spirit led him to believe that, in order to avoid further humiliation, Japan should adapt its technological and organizational skills. In 1958 Nonaka received his B.S. in political science of Waseda University.

After graduation Nonaka accepted a job in Fuji Electric, where he initiated a management program. This curriculum was in the 1960s further developed together with the business school of Keio University and offered to companies all over Japan.[1] In 1967 Nonaka moved to US where in 1968 he obtained an MBA and in 1972 a PhD in Business Administration both at University of California, Berkeley.

Nonaka was the First Distinguished Drucker Scholar in Residence at the Drucker School and Institute, Claremont Graduate University; the Xerox Distinguished Faculty Scholar, Institute of Management, Innovation and Organization, UC Berkeley. Back in Japan he became Professor at the Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy of Hitotsubashi University.



Nonaka co-authored The Knowledge-Creating Company with Hirotaka Takeuchi. In 2008, the Wall Street Journal listed him as one of the most influential persons on business thinking.,[2] and The Economist included him in its "Guide to Management Ideas and Gurus".[3]

The New New Product Development Game[edit]

In the article "The New New Product Development Game"[4] co-authored with Hirotaka Takeuchi a colleague at Hitotsubashi University, he discusses the new emphasis that must be put in speed and flexibility during the development of new products. This article is considered to be the one of the roots of the Scrum development framework, one of the most used agile software development techniques.

The SECI Model[edit]

Nonaka has proposed the SECI model to present the spiraling knowledge processes of interaction between explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge.


  • Socialization
  • Externalization
  • Combination
  • Internalization

Selected Bibliography[edit]

  • Essence of Failure: Organizational Study of the Japanese Armed Forces during the World War II (with R. Tobe, Y. Teramoto, S. Kamata, T. Suginoo and T. Murai), Tokyo: Diamond-sha, 1984 (in Japanese).
  • Nonaka, Ikujiro; Takeuchi, Hirotaka (1995), The knowledge creating company: how Japanese companies create the dynamics of innovation, New York: Oxford University Press, p. 284, ISBN 978-0-19-509269-1 
  • Enabling Knowledge Creation (with G. von Krogh and K. Ichijo), New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Hitotsubashi on Knowledge Management (with co-authors), John Wiley (Asia), 2003.
  • The Essence of Innovation (with A. Katsumi), Tokyo: Nikkei BP, 2004 (in Japanese).
  • The Essence of Strategy (with co-authors), Tokyo: Nikkei BP, 2005 (in Japanese).
  • Managing Flow (with T. Hirata and R. Toyama), Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.
  • The Core of Organization is People (with H. Sakai, H. Yoshida, T. Sakikawa, T. Hirata, K. Isomura and Yasunobu NARITA), Kyoto: Nakanishiya, 2009 (in Japanese).
  • The Philosophy-Creating Company (with K. Genma, T. Hirata, K. Isomura and Yasunobu NARITA), Kyoto: Nakanishiya, 2012 (in Japanese).
About Ikujiro Nonaka


  1. ^ Sally Helgesen. November 25, 2008. The Practical Wisdom of Ikujiro Nonaka.Strategy+Business. Retrieved October 15, 2011.http://www.strategy-business.com/article/08407
  2. ^ Erin White. "Quest for Innovation, Motivation Inspires the Gurus". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 10, 2008.
  3. ^ Hindle, T. (2008). Guide to management ideas & gurus. Delhi: Profile Books.
  4. ^ Takeuchi, H. and Nonaka, I. 1986. The New New Product Development Game, Harvard Business Review, January/February, 285-305

External links[edit]