For it to become an effective source of sustainable competitive advantage, it is essential that tacit knowledge be transferable within the organization. Consequently, organizations are increasingly intensifying their search for ways to transfer knowledge among their employees and prevent the loss of organizational knowledge.
The two strategies for the transfer of organizational knowledge from person to person are codification and personalization. While codification applies mostly when dealing with the transfer of explicit knowledge, personalization deals with the transfer of tacit knowledge.
In codification, all knowledge is standardized, structured and stored in information systems that can be accessed via efficient indexation and distributed to across the organization via data networks.
When it comes to personalization, the emphasis is on tacit knowledge transfer from one person to another. In this case, the knowledge storage systems are less robust than in the codification strategy. Tools used are those that prioritize personal contact, so that difficulties, solutions, methods, and costs of tasks carried out for the first time can be discussed to help employees who will be called upon to perform similar tasks later.
Characteristics of tacit knowledge make it a great source of sustainable competitive advantage, though they at the same time hinder effective dissemination.
Organizations tend to have a large amount of tacit knowledge in the form of know-how and best practices to be discovered and transferring this knowledge within the organization is very critical.
Tacit to Tacit
Generally, tacit knowledge is difficult to express in formal language and comes from experience, perceptions and individual values. In addition, it depends on the context in which it is generated.
Tacit knowledge is a direct result of experience, reflection and dialogue which require time. Time is necessary for contacts and personal interactions to take place.
Common language is a prerequisite for transfer of tacit knowledge
This indicator ensures that people have the ability to express tacit knowledge they possess through a common language.
For transfer of tacit knowledge to be successful, it is of vital for a relationship of trust to prevail among individuals, which must be developed within social and cultural contexts.
This indicator aims to determine if it is possible to identify the people in the organization that have the knowledge that is needed, as well as those that need such knowledge.
Accessibility, in an organization, of people who possess tacit knowledge notwithstanding their hierarchical position, can be a pertinent indicator for tacit knowledge transfer.
In order to encourage people to share their knowledge, they need to be adequately rewarded. It is important to develop performance appraisal systems that take knowledge sharing into consideration.
Knowledge can be used to empower individuals within an organization. For those who transfer knowledge they possess, it could mean a loss of influence, superiority, professional respect and job security.
Internal Level of Questioning
The absence of a safe psychological environment to express and try out different opinions and ideas jeopardizes the dissemination of tacit knowledge in an organization.
Explicit to Explicit
Explicit knowledge is the form of knowledge that can be codified into something formal, structured, and systematic. After codification, the knowledge can then be shared, communicated with ease, and be made available to other people who intend to make use of it.
In the process of transferring knowledge from explicit to explicit, an individual may combine separate pieces of explicit knowledge to form one big whole.
During knowledge codification, four basic principles must be followed. First, it is important to determine the business goals to be served by the codified knowledge. Secondly, the organization should identify existing knowledge necessary to achieve strategic intent. Next, existing knowledge should be evaluated to understand its usefulness and ability to be codified. Finally, the appropriate medium for codification and distribution should be determined.
Closely related to the idea of knowledge codification is knowledge capture, which takes into account the media to be used in the codification process. The main knowledge capture activities include scanning for knowledge within the target environment either electronically or by humans, organizing the knowledge to make it easier for all types of users to access, and designing knowledge maps.
Knowledge maps serve as both a guide to where knowledge exists in an organization and an inventory of the knowledge assets available. Although it may be graphically represented, a knowledge map can consist of nothing more than a list of people, documents, and databases that tell employees where to go when they need help. A good knowledge map gives access to resources that would otherwise be difficult or even impossible to find.