Knowledge Generation in the Public Sector

This scientific work examines the impact of integrating agile methodologies into public administration on knowledge creation.

Knowledge Generation in the Public Sector


This scientific work examines the impact of integrating agile methodologies into public administration on knowledge creation. Agile methodologies prioritize swift, customer-focused development and informal knowledge sharing, which can conflict with the formal, bureaucratic nature of public institutions. The study researches this potential discord and its effects on knowledge management through the lens of the SECI model, which underscores the transformation of tacit to explicit knowledge via social interaction.



The SECI model recognizes five different enabling conditions for organizational knowledge creation that influence organizational knowledge creation. It underscores the central role of leadership and middle management in this context. This work can help managers understand how they can better perform their role in facilitating the continuous generation of organizational knowledge. This study examines knowledge conversion using the four modes of socialization, externalization, combination and internalization. Understanding these elements is crucial for organizations, particularly in the IT-sector, to effectively manage and leverage knowledge for innovation.



The study reveals that the conflict between bureaucratic and agile methods within the Tax Administration of the Canton of Berne hinders knowledge generation. Bureaucratic rigidity of the specialist departments limits informal communication with the agile IT division. Regulatory time pressures, complex IT architecture, and unequal access to information further restrict effective sharing of information. Additionally, conflicting management styles and lack of standardized documentation create ambiguity and hinder autonomy, especially for less experienced employees. These challenges collectively impede organizational knowledge creation, performance, and adaptability.


Implications for Practitioners

  • Open communication and collaboration are essential for overcoming departmental silos and facilitating informal knowledge exchange
  • Addressing time constraints imposed by regulatory changes requires effective resource allocation and streamlined processes to enable agile responses
  • Integrating bureaucratic principles with agile methodologies is crucial for clarifying goals, enhancing team autonomy, and fostering a cohesive and agile work environment



In the context of this work, a case study was conducted, which is suitable for exploring underexamined topics and understanding dynamics in specific settings. It focuses on the Tax Administration of the Canton of Berne, whose IT division has adopted the SAFe agile framework since 2019. Qualitative methods, including an integrative literature review and semi-structured interviews, are used. Interviews follow the SECI model's modes of knowledge conversion and were conducted with a total of nine people in the roles of Business Analyst, Application Manager and Agile Tester. The statements of the interview partners were analyzed using a mixed deductive-inductive approach.