Self‐transcending knowledge: sensing and organizing around emerging opportunities

Claus Otto Scharmer (Claus Otto Scharmer is Visiting Professor at the Society for Organizational Learning, MIT Sloan School of Management, Cambridge, MA, USA.)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Publication date: 1 June 2001


The paper introduces the concept of not‐yet‐embodied or self‐transcending knowledge. The concept of self‐transcending knowledge proposes a distinction between two types of tacit knowledge: tacit‐embodied knowledge on the one hand and not‐yet‐embodied knowledge on the other hand. The distinction is relevant because each of the three forms of knowledge – explicit, tacit‐embodied, and self‐transcending – is based on different epistemological assumptions and requires a different type of knowledge environment and learning infrastructure. Moreover, the differentiation among markets with decreasing, steady, and increasing returns suggests that, in order to successfully compete for increasing return markets, leaders need a new type of knowledge that allows them to sense, tune into and actualize emerging business opportunities – that is, to tap into the sources of not‐yet‐embodied knowledge.



Otto Scharmer, C. (2001), "Self‐transcending knowledge: sensing and organizing around emerging opportunities", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 137-151.

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Copyright © 2001, MCB UP Limited

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