AffiliationProfessor Emeritus, Hitotsubashi University
Ikujiro Nonaka received his BA in political science from Waseda University in 1958, and MBA and PhD in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley in 1968 and 1972, respectively. Professor Nonaka was appointed a Xerox Distinguished Faculty Scholar of the University of California in 1997, Professor Emeritus of Hitotsubashi University in 2006, and University Professor of Waseda University in 2013.
Professor Nonaka was the Dean of the Graduate School of Knowledge Science, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, from 1997 to 2000. Previously he was Professor (1982-95) and Director (1995-98) at the Institute of Business Research, Hitotsubashi University. His earlier academic career included positions at Nanzan University and the National Defense Academy’s Faculty of Social Science.
Professor Nonaka’s primary research interest is to establish and disseminate the theory of knowledge-based management of companies, communities, public administration, and the nations, in order to facilitate ongoing, sustainable knowledge creation and innovation. As part of this work, he has conducted comparative research on leaders and on knowledge-creating processes in companies and organizations, and of leaders, around the world. Accordingly, he is known globally as the ‘guru’ of Knowledge-based Management, having proposed concepts and theories on organizational knowledge creation processes and leadership since the 1980s. His academic works include the SECI Model for the organizational knowledge creating process, the concept of Ba and the dynamic model of organizational knowledge creation process, the concept and abilities of wise leadership and phronesis (practical wisdom), and historical imagination and idealistic pragmatism.
Professor Nonaka has won wide-ranging recognition for his work in developing the theory of Knowledge-based Management. In 2002, Professor Nonaka was 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. Professor Nonaka was ranked number 20 in the Wall Street Journal’s “Most Influential Business Thinkers (May 5, 2008).” 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 to education. In June 2012, Professor Nonaka received the Eminent Scholar Award from the Academy of International Business (AIB). In November 2013, he was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Thinkers50, which is given to someone who has had a long-term impact on the way people think about and practice management. He was elected as a member of the Japan Academy in January 2016. Professor Nonaka received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, on November 3, 2017, during the school’s annual gala.
Professor Nonaka has published many books and contributed numerous articles to management journals as well as other media both in Japanese and in English. Selected publications include: The Essence of Nation Management, Nihon Keizai Shimbun Shuppan-sha, 2014 (with co-authors); The Essence of Great Judgements, Diamond-sha, 2014 (with S. Ogino); The Grammar of Knowledge Creating Management for Prudent Capitalism, Toyokeizaishimpo-sha, 2012 (with N. Konno); Managing Flow: A Process Theory of the Knowledge-based Firm, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008 (with co-authors); 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); Enabling Knowledge Creation: How to Unlock the Mystery of Tacit Knowledge and Release the Power of Innovation, Oxford University Press, 2000 (with co-authors); The Knowledge-Creating Company, Oxford University Press, 1995 (with H.Takeuchi); 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); “The Theory of the Knowledge-creating Firm: Subjectivity, Objectivity and Synthesis,” Industrial and Corporate Change, 14(3) 2005 (with R.Toyama); "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; and “The Concept of ‘Ba’: Building a Foundation for Knowledge Creation,” California Management Review, 40 (3) 1998 (with N. Konno). The Knowledge-Creating Company, and Enabling Knowledge Creation each received a best book of the year award in business and management from the (Association of American Publishers, Inc) in 1996 and 2000, respectively.