About Our Faculty

Ikujiro Nonaka

Ikujiro Nonaka



Ikujiro Nonaka

Professor Emeritus
International Business Strategy

Professor Nonaka was appointed Professor Emeritus in 2006, and First Distinguished Drucker Scholar in Residence at the Drucker School and Institute, Claremont Graduate University in 2007. He was the Dean of the Graduate School of Knowledge Science, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology from 1997 to 2000. He was also a Professor at the Department of Social Sciences, National Defense Academy, Japan from 1979 to 1982.

Professor Nonaka was ranked number 20 in the Wall Street Journal’s “Most Influential Business Thinkers (May 5, 2008).” He is known worldwide as the ‘guru’ of Knowledge-based Management, for the SECI Model for knowledge creating process phronesis (practical wisdom) for distributed idealistic and pragmatic leadership.

In Spring 2002, Professor Nonaka received double honors, conferred with a Purple Ribbon Medal by the Japanese government, and elected a member of the Fellows Group of the Academy of Management in the United States, becoming the first Asian scholar among the Group’s members. In Autumn 2010, he was conferred with the Zuihōshō, or The Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, for outstanding achievement and long-service and contributions in education.


Professor Nonaka received his BS (Political Science) from Waseda University in 1958, MBA from the University of California, Berkeley in 1968, and PhD in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1972.

Selected Papers and Publications

He has published many books and contributed many articles to management journals and newspapers both in Japanese and in English. Selected publications include Managing Flow: A Process Theory of the Knowledge-based Firm, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008 (co-authored); The Essence of Strategy, Nihon Keizai Shimbun-sha, 2005 (with co-authors); Hitotsubashi on Knowledge Management, John Wiley & Sons, 2004 (with co-authors); The Essence of Innovation, Nikkei BP-sha, 2004 (with co-authors); The Knowledge-Creating Company, Oxford University Press, 1995 (with H.Takeuchi); Enabling Knowledge Creation: How to Unlock the Mystery of Tacit Knowledge and Release the Power of Innovation, Oxford University Press, 2000 (with co-authors); Strategic vs. Evolutionary Management: A U.S.-Japan Comparison of Strategy and Organization, Amsterdam: North-Holland, 1985 (with co-authors); “The Wise Leader” Harvard Business Review, May 2011 (with Hirotaka Takeuchi); "Toward Middle Up-down Management: Accelerating Information Creation," Sloan Management Review, Spring 1998; "Creating Organizational Order out of Chaos: Self-renewal in Japanese Firms," California Management Review, Spring 1998; “The Concept of ‘Ba’: Building a Foundation for Knowledge Creation,” California Management Review, 40 (3) 1998 (with N. Konno); and “The Theory of the Knowledge-creating Firm: Subjectivity, Objectivity and Synthesis,” Industrial and Corporate Change, 14(3) 2005 (with R.Toyama). The Knowledge-Creating Company, and Enabling Knowledge Creation each received a best book of the year award in business and management (Association of American Publishers, Inc) in 1996 and 2000 respectively.

Current Research and Activities

Professor Nonaka’s main research interest is to build a new theory of organizational knowledge creation. He has been conducting comparative research on knowledge creating processes in companies around the world. He has also been conducting research on the characteristics of strategic and of innovative activities in Japanese companies.