Explicit and Tacit Knowledge

In a business context there are two working definitions of knowledge: knowledge as a "body of information" and knowledge as "know-how". These are often referred to as explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge.

The generation of these two types of knowledge in an individual is described in the Learning Cycle devised by Kolb in 1974 and illustrated in Figure C11. As can be seen tacit knowledge is attained by acquaintance with a topic and involves divergent think-


Apprehension - Knowledge by Acquaintance

Comprehension -knowledge by theorising EXPLICIT

Figure C11. Kolb's Learning Cycle ing to rationalise that experience. On the other hand explicit knowledge involves comprehension in a convergent thinking mode, leading to a right or wrong answer.

In the technology functions of the chemical industry tacit knowledge is usually applied to that knowledge which is not patentable, the know-how of the organisation, including how to make things happen in your own organisation. These are the tricks of the trade encompassed in process details or formulations used within a company, or knowledge gained by individuals in their daily work and not formalised in any way. It is therefore the information that is passed between research workers in an unstructured manner. It is the most difficult type of knowledge to manage and often disappears out of the front door when long serving workers retire.

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  • karoliina
    What are the tacit knowledge in the biopharmaceuticual industry?
    4 months ago

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