Tacit knowledge management

Rodrigo Ribeiro

pp. 337-366

How can we identify and estimate workers' tacit knowledge? How can we design a personnel mix aimed at improving and speeding up its transfer and development? How is it possible to implement tacit knowledge sustainable projects in remote areas? In order to answer these questions, it is necessary to distinguish between types of tacit knowledge, to establish what they allow for and to consider their sources. It is also essential to find a way of managing the tacit knowledge "stock' and distribution within the workforce. In short, a conceptual framework is needed to manage tacit knowledge. Based on previous works and 2 years of action research, this paper introduces such a framework and describes its partial application to support the pre-operational training and hiring in a large industrial plant in Brazil. Two contributions emerge from the research. First, the concept of "levels of similarity' is introduced as a means to qualify the experience of workers and estimate the associated tacit knowledge. Second, the capability of carrying out three types of judgement properly and speedily is put forward as being a core ability of those who possess what has been called "collective tacit knowledge' (Collins in Organ Stud 28(2):257–262, 2007). In practical terms, the results indicate the opportunity for companies to capitalize on the experience and tacit knowledge of their workers in a systematic way and with due recognition. Ultimately, positive impacts are expected in their absorptive capacity as well as in their management and human resources systems, accident prevention, productivity and the development of sustainable projects in remote areas.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s11097-011-9251-x

Full citation:

Ribeiro, R. (2013). Tacit knowledge management. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 12 (2), pp. 337-366.

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