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Opening the black box: knowledge creation in data teams

Mireille D. Hubers (University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)
Cindy L. Poortman (University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)
Kim Schildkamp (University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)
Jules M. Pieters (University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)
Adam Handelzalts (VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Journal of Professional Capital and Community

ISSN: 2056-9548

Article publication date: 11 January 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

In this study, Nonaka and Takeuchi’s socialization, externalization, combination and internalization (SECI) model of knowledge creation is used to gain insight into the process of knowledge creation in data teams. These teams are composed of school leaders and teachers, who work together to improve the quality of education. They collaboratively create knowledge related to data use and to an educational problem they are studying. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative micro-process case study was conducted for two data teams. The modes, transitions and content of the knowledge creation process were analyzed for all data team meetings over a two-year period. In addition, all team members were interviewed twice to triangulate the findings.

Findings

Results show that the knowledge creation process was cyclical across meetings, but more iterative within meetings. Furthermore, engagement in the socialization and internalization mode provided added value in this process. Finally, the SECI model clearly differentiated between team members’ processes. Team members who engaged more often in the socialization and internalization modes and displayed more personal engagement in those modes gained greater and deeper knowledge.

Research limitations/implications

The SECI model is valuable for understanding how teams gain new knowledge and why they differ in those gains.

Practical implications

Stimulation of active personal engagement in the socialization and internalization mode is needed.

Originality/value

This is one of the first attempts to concretely observe the process of knowledge creation. It provides essential insights into what educators do in professional development contexts, and how support can best be provided.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science for funding the data teams project. Although government funded, the present study was independently designed and conducted.

Citation

Hubers, M.D., Poortman, C.L., Schildkamp, K., Pieters, J.M. and Handelzalts, A. (2016), "Opening the black box: knowledge creation in data teams", Journal of Professional Capital and Community, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 41-68. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPCC-07-2015-0003

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited