Most studies have considered the concept of knowledge according to a cognitivist notion, that is, knowledge is associated with a set of viewpoints from the individual who handles it. This paper sheds light on the cognitive range and how it affects obtaining customer needs or knowledge conversion. The outcome of a questionnaire used with a large Japanese System-Integration (SI) firm shows that the cognitive range is related to the level of knowledge conversion but not to the impact of supporting factors. In contrast, in terms of obtaining customer needs, the cognitive range is related to the impact of supporting factors but not to the level of obtaining customer needs. Moreover, some factors consistently show positive relationships to obtaining customer needs and knowledge conversion under any conditions, meaning that they are necessary conditions for attaining knowledge creation and customer satisfaction.
Keywords: cognitive range, customer needs, SECI model, knowledge creation, market orientation