Concept of Knowledge Maturing

In a nutshell

Knowledge maturing describes the development of knowledge from a team, community, or organizational perspective.

Sub sections

Further information

Key publication to cite


Ronald {Maier, Andreas} Schmidt
{Explaining organizational knowledge creation with a knowledge maturing model}
{Knowledge Management Research & Practice}, vol. 2014, no. 1, 2014, pp. {1--20}

Abstract {Social media challenge knowledge management because of encouraging conversations, networking and participation in more distributed, diverse and dynamic ways of knowledge development and increasingly important individuals’ interests driving them. Hence, we need to understand the complex relationships between different qualities of knowledge developed in informal and formal processes as well as for overcoming misalignments in routines, tools and infrastructures supporting organizational knowledge creation. This paper contributes a maturation perspective towards explaining organizational knowledge creation and presents a knowledge maturing model, which is grounded in organizational practice and validated with qualitative and quantitative empirical and design studies. The results describe how characteristics of knowledge and support by IT change between phases of knowledge maturing. Our findings confirm theories of organizational knowledge creation with respect to expanding scopes from individuals through communities to organizations moving from interest-driven knowledge exploration in informal contexts to goal-driven knowledge exploitation in formal contexts. The maturation perspective adds to our understanding that organizational knowledge creation is not simply a continuous process. Phases that emphasize changeability alternate with phases concerned with stability. Knowledge develops in contexts that need to switch multiple times between opening up for new knowledge and filtering relevant knowledge and between de- and re-contextualization. }


Andreas P. Schmidt

What is knowledge maturing?

Learning is an social and collaborative activity in which individual learning processes are interdependent and dynamically interlinked with each other: the output of one learning process is input to the next. If we have a look at this phenomenon from a macroscopic perspective, we can observe a knowledge flow across different interlinked individual learning processes. The knowledge becomes less contextualized, more explicitly linked, easier to communicate, in short: it matures.

We define knowledge maturing as the goal-oriented development of collective knowledge, or better as goal-oriented learning on a collective level where

  • goal-oriented describes knowledge maturing as a process with a direction. The goal can be an individual goal (e.g., deepen understanding in an area out of curiosity), a team goal (e.g., grasp known errors with respect to a product that the team works on), or an organisational goal (e.g., refine an organisation?s core competency). Goals typically change over time and get aligned in social processes, resulting in a direction as a (mostly a posteriori) interpretation.
  • collective level can refer to different levels of granularity, e.g., a team, an organisation or a com-munity. Knowledge maturing is not the result of an individual?s activity, but of an interconnected series of activities of interacting individuals, frequently also within different collectives.
  • knowledge is understood as both cognitive structures bound to individuals? minds (becoming manifest in their behaviour) and as an abstraction of the knowledge of individuals in a collective.


Related publications