The Development of a Tacit Knowledge Spectrum based on the Interrelationships between Tacit and Explicit Knowledge
University of Wales
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Tacit knowledge is a valuable asset to organisations which is not readily being recognised. Years of experience and understanding of an organisations processes, operations and clients, is being lost on a daily basis through the turnover of employees, whether through natural wastage or in these times of recession a cutting back of the workforce. The loss of this information (tacit knowledge) can be critical to the day to day running of the organisation and in many cases it is irreplaceable. Organisations need to capture this knowledge and turn it into explicit knowledge to enhance the future knowledge capital of the organisation. The undertaking of this thesis is to explore the relationship between tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge and their interaction when converting tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge. A review is carried out of current methodologies available to organisations for the management of tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge. Following the review, cases studies are carried out to test a series of interventions designed to promote understanding of knowledge management and the conversion of tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge. From the findings of the case studies, it can be found that tacit knowledge is not a single entity that can be converted into explicit knowledge, but it can be broken down into elements, which have to be considered independently in order to facilitate the knowledge transfer process. From evaluation of the research for this thesis, a Tacit Knowledge Spectrum Model is developed to represent the elements of tacit knowledge. The Model gives a clear view of the complexity of tacit knowledge and the inter-relationship of the elements that make up tacit knowledge. By creating a better understanding of tacit knowledge and its elements and their interaction with explicit knowledge, organisations will be better placed to manage tacit knowledge and their knowledge capital.
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