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Encyclopedia of Networked and Virtual Or... > Reflective Ba and Refractive Ma in C... - Pg. 1357

1357 Reflective Ba and Refractive Ma in Cross-Cultural Learning Tunç D. Medeni Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Japan Shunji Iwatsuki Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Japan Steven A. Cook Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Japan R introduction It is important to underline that learning and knowledge are relative in terms of space and time (Medeni, 2005). This notion of relativity and the inter-linkage of time and space is furthered by Costea, 1 in his discussion of "time and the conceptual problems of the temporal dimension of business education discourse." In conclu- sion, Costea's analysis shows that: with regard to the problem of time, management educa- tion discourses originate in a paradigmatic framework which leads to the assimilation of human practices in the overall economic-functionalist view of human be- ings and of the world as space for history. Thus, time itself is rendered into a homogenous resource to be managed according to the agenda of the corporate organisation as main unit of analysis. The role of human beings involved in this process is to merely synchronize their actions and make more efficient use of time as an economic resource. (p. 38) Rather than such homogenous, singular understand- ing of time and space a heterogeneous, plural com- prehension will be more useful for the understanding of virtual and networked organizations. With respect to such "pluralist epistemology" (Spender, 1998), "epistemic types, aspects and levels in knowledge management" (Umemoto, 2004) and "knowledge(s) science(s)" (Umemoto, 2006), 2 a pluralistic knowledge science epistemology fits well with the cross-cultural knowledge management perspective into management learning. Within this cross-cultural knowledge management perspective, in this short article, we will first present the concepts of ba & ma, discussing the space and time issues. Then, we will further this by discussing ba and ma for reflection and refraction as concepts for cross-cultural learning. As for future research, we will suggest the conceptualization of ma for knowledge management, before we conclude our article. BACKGRound: spACE, BA, timE And MA Ba is the `place', the shared context for relationship building and knowledge creation. It does have a physi- cal, a relational, and a spiritual dimension. Moreover, it can be physical, mental, or technological (in the sense of information-communication technology) (Nonaka, Toyama, & Scharmer, 2001). Utilizing space and time to explain social phenomena has been one of the major concerns in history. However, we rarely pay attention to how a spatio-temporal func- tion is utilized. We take our lives for granted, although this presupposition rarely comes with its clear recogni- tion through our senses. This common ignorance takes place in the context of having an objective view of self and objects without noticing space and time. Recognizing a social change is a good opportunity to make spatio-temporal thought become tangible. Among other technological inventions from the indus- trial revolution, a Watt steam engine, for instance, had a major impact on daily life in terms of economizing space and time. Having this idea of the revolution in mind, executing business work nowadays by using invented technologies, which are, for example, cars, ships, computer devices, and so on, have led us to utilize space and time even more in condensed and efficient manner. This is the process of what Cooper (1998) describes as "a case of reterritorializing space Copyright © 2008, IGI Global, distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.