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Linking the knowledge creation process to organizational theories: A macro view of organization‐environment change

Chung‐An Chen (Department of Public Administration and Policy, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 23 May 2008




The author aims to provide a macro (organization‐environment) view for knowledge creation (KC), a study traditionally considered to be a micro (individual‐organization) management issue.


Literature review and literature integration are the main approaches used in this paper. Instead of providing a critique, the author reviews recent KC process studies and integrates them into a “process heuristic,” in which different phases of KC activity are embedded. The author then discusses how each phase of KC interacts with the change of an organization's external environment (the integration of change theories and the KC process heuristic).


The author found that an organization needs the function and balance of three different momenta – imitation, rationality, and inertia – to proceed with KC when confronted with pressure from external environments. Knowledge feedback, prompted by the synergy of these momenta, ensures the fitness of an organization and its environment. However, knowledge feedback falls short if organizations fail to process ambiguous information in a turbulent environment.

Research limitations/implications

The author provides five propositions based on the literature review. One may need more qualitative or quantitative evidence to test these propositions.

Practical implications

In addition to the traditional micro view, managers can diagnose their KC problems from a macro view.


This paper is the first one to address the importance of environment‐organization fitness in terms of KC studies.



Chen, C. (2008), "Linking the knowledge creation process to organizational theories: A macro view of organization‐environment change", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 259-279.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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