2. Different types of knowledge within an organization
Before going further in the knowledge creation process and knowledge and ideas share, it’s important to identify the types of existing knowledge across an organization. To understand the two main existing types of knowledge will, for sure, help us understand how knowledge can is embedded in every person inside an organization, how each person, in whatever position, can own important knowledge to be shared, how multidisciplinary and multifunction teams can contribute to the internal knowledge and ideas share and how can an organization create the means and opportunities to foster the internal flows of knowledge and ideas.
One previous alert! Please, don’t put your focus on the knowledge nomenclature, but focus on understanding these two different types of knowledge and how they contribute to your organization performance.
Inside each organization, we can find tacit and explicit knowledge. Both are directly involved in the organization knowledge creation process.
Tacit knowledge is the type of knowledge that cannot be documented. It is embedded in one’s mind and techniques and is difficult to transmit through sentences, diagrams, schemes, texts, etc. It’s related with feelings, movements, physical experiences, etc.
Think about the example of a carpenter (hoping this is not your field of expertise). We can read books and watch videos on how to build a table, but… will we be, actually, knowing how to properly cut the pieces of wood? Will we know exactly how to hammer the nails? Will we be able to know how to sand the wood and realizing, through touch, when the sanding is perfect? Well, that handcraft skilled can argue that they will be able to do it. But how much time will it take you and how perfect will the result be by comparison with a skilled carpenter? Tacit knowledge is about know-how and can be transferred through experience (e.g., apprenticeship) or through narratives.
Think, now, about your organization and the people in it. Can you identify the tacit knowledge owned by each person working with you?
Source: https://pixabay.com/pt/photos/trabalhar-madeira-avi%c3%a3o-carpintaria-2385634/ (photo by Graham Hobster)
Explicit knowledge refers to all knowledge that can be written and documented, transferred, or explained to others. It can be put into sentences, drawings, schemes, designs, etc. Think about all the knowledge you can find in books, in guidelines, orientations and processes you have designed for your organization, in patents.
Remember the book you can use to learn carpentry and build your own table? It tells you all about the type of wood, nails and other materials and tools to uses, the measures to follow, which parts to assemble first, etc. That is explicit knowledge.
Tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge work together to build new knowledge. But it is the tacit knowledge that is at origin of all knowledge.
Source: https://pixabay.com/pt/illustrations/livros-pilha-educa%c3%a7%c3%a3o-literatura-6122504/ (Image by Hassas_Art)