Academic journal article Global Journal of Business Research

Sharing Tacit Knowledge within Organizations: Evidence from the Czech Republic

Academic journal article Global Journal of Business Research

Sharing Tacit Knowledge within Organizations: Evidence from the Czech Republic

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Knowledge is a changing system with interactions among experience, skills, facts, relations, values, thinking processes and meanings. Literature differentiates between the two dimensions of knowledge, explicit and tacit. Explicit knowledge can be expressed in formal and systematic language and can be shared in the form of data. ICT makes this process easy these days. Tacit knowledge is highly personal and hard to discover. Explicit knowledge and intuition, mental models, experience, crafts and skills etc., create it. It is partly or fully subconscious, deeply rooted in action, procedures, routines, commitment, ideas, value and emotions of individuals or groups. It is very difficult to turn into data. Attempts to formalize it usually lead to its damage. Even though tacit knowledge is an important asset that enables us to do practical activities, many organizations underestimate it. This article discusses the basic theoretical background of tacit knowledge, its importance for modern organization and the results of research on tacit knowledge management in organizations in the Czech Republic (Central Europe). The research is qualitative and helps us to monitor development of knowledge management activities in our country. It started in 2004, continues to this day and currently provides the experience of 145 organizations.

JEL: M19

KEYWORDS: knowledge, tacit knowledge, apprenticeship, communities, storytelling

INTRODUCTION

This paper presents results of research on tacit knowledge management and sharing carried out in organizations in the Czech Republic (Central Europe). Having started in 2004, the research provides us with a detailed analysis of knowledge management and management of tacit knowledge sharing in 145 organizations. Knowledge is a major creative force of the knowledge society. Its potential can be fully exploited only if proper knowledge management is introduced. An important task of knowledge management is to optimize the flow, creation and exploitation of knowledge in an organization. Knowledge management must cover both explicit and tacit knowledge in relation to the specific needs of an organization, in relation to its strategic objectives, culture, principles and habits.

Our research shows that organizations in the Czech Republic still do not understand the importance of tacit knowledge and that they don't know how to work with it and how to manage it. Only 19% of reviewed organizations know and use all three tools for tacit knowledge sharing intentionally; apprenticeship (we use the term coaching for this paper; see below), communities of practice and storytelling. Organizations have a great reserve in the application of methodology of individual tools. For example, employees are usually coached by their direct managers (44%); coaches are not rewarded for their effort (58%), organizations do not manage the relationship between the coach and the coached (27%), they do not reward community members for their activity (81%) and they do not use storytelling (70%). The latest literature on knowledge management offers many concepts, systems and recommendations. They can be classified into three large groups: the first group addresses the problems of explicit knowledge, the second group is focused on work with tacit knowledge and the third group tries to address knowledge management systematically, e.g. combine the work with both tacit and explicit dimensions with the corporate system of management.

Our paper is focused on work with tacit knowledge, and it can be classified into the second group. It provides the reader with an analysis of work with all three tools of tacit knowledge sharing in a very detailed way. As far as we know, such an analysis has never been undertaken before. The major benefit can be seen in the description of mistakes organizations make when using the tools of tacit knowledge sharing. We think that these mistakes are universal and that they are not a specialty of organizations in the Czech Republic. …

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