Unraveling the temporal fabric of knowledge conversion: A model of media selection and use

Anne P. Massey, Mitzi M. Montoya-Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


We draw from and extend Nonaka's (1994) theory of knowledge creation to develop a model of media selection and use in the knowledge conversion (KC) process. KC is a process wherein an individual is affected by the experiences of another. The outcomes of KC - transferred and transformed knowledge - hinge on the development of understanding. The KC process is enabled via various communicative and noncommunicative media. Because the KC process occurs over time, it possesses a temporal fabric or structure. We explore the practical realities of KC as a dynamic, time- and experience-dependent process. We consider how the temporal fabric of KC creates an evolving reciprocal relationship among perceived media utility, selection, and use of media, as well as switching and/or combining media. We propose and discuss two key factors as determinants of perceived media utility use in the KC process: (1) the temporal behavior of individuals engaged in the KC process and (2) individual and joint experience-based factors. We also discuss the role of contextual factors as antecedents. Finally, we offer and illustrate two primary temporal structures for KC media selection and use: (1) monophasic, wherein KC participants use a single medium at a time, and (2) polyphasic, wherein KC participants deploy multiple media simultaneously. We conclude with a discussion of the implications for the design of KC-enabling systems and directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-114
Number of pages16
JournalMIS Quarterly: Management Information Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 29 2006


  • Individual temporal behavior
  • Knowledge conversion
  • Knowledge management
  • Media utility
  • Monophasic and polyphasic temporal structures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems and Management


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