Tacit v Explicit Knowledge, what is the difference? - KPS

Tacit v Explicit Knowledge, what is the difference?

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Tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge are two distinct forms of knowledge that individuals and organizations possess. They differ in terms of accessibility, articulation, and transferability. Here’s a breakdown of their differences:

Tacit Knowledge:

  • Tacit knowledge refers to knowledge that is deeply ingrained in an individual’s mind and is often difficult to express or transfer to others.
  • It is highly personal and is typically based on an individual’s experiences, insights, intuitions, and skills.
  • Tacit knowledge is often subconscious and automatic, and people may not be fully aware of it.
  • Examples of tacit knowledge include the ability to ride a bicycle, play a musical instrument, or intuitively understand social dynamics in a particular culture. In organizations, leadership and sales roles require experience and intuition which are more difficult to teach and requires tacit knowledge and complex social skills.

Explicit Knowledge:

  • Explicit knowledge, on the other hand, is knowledge that can be easily articulated, documented, and shared in a systematic and formal manner.
  • It is codified and can take the form of written documents, databases, diagrams, manuals, or other tangible forms.
  • Explicit knowledge is typically objective and can be communicated, learned, and transferred more readily.
  • Examples of explicit knowledge include textbooks, scientific formulas, company policies, and instructional videos.

The key differences between these two types of knowledge are related to their form, ease of transfer, and tangibility. Tacit knowledge is deeply embedded in an individual’s mind and often relies on personal experiences, while explicit knowledge can be readily recorded and shared. In many cases, effective knowledge management strategies involve efforts to externalize tacit knowledge (making it more explicit) and to share and disseminate explicit knowledge within organizations. Individuals may have (tacit) knowledge without recognizing the importance of it for others; however, effective Knowledge Management solutions facilitate the transfer and capture of knowledge through templates and processes.

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