Thursday, July 5, 2007

Why tacit knowledge be converted into explicit knowlege?

Typically 20% of knowledge in average organizations is stored in paper form and about 38 % electronically and astonishing 42% is stored as tacit knowledge. The learning and knowledge is lost when people move jobs and roles within or across organizations. The need of transforming the tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge is far more bigger challenge than implementing the knowledge management practice with the organization.

The knowledge management facilitates in getting the right information to the right person in the right time. The right information means accurate and relevant information, right person is who is in need of the information and right time is when it is required and as fast as possible. The knowledge management is more about processes rather than technologies. The knowledge should reside appropriately within the organization to bring value to information and its users. If the knowledge only resides within individuals, it only provide great value to the organization till the individual is in the same role and job.

Why do we need knowledge? Usually knowledge is required to take tactical or strategic decision. These decisions are usually based on data, information found in structured form (explicit form, analytics). So it becomes more important to transform tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge. The dangers of not converting and collecting tacit knowledge includes:

1. Inaccurate, irrelevant and limited knowledge to take decisions
2. Ineffective use of employee time to obtain right information
3. Poor judgment when when taking decisions
4. Unable to provide information when it is needed most
5. Loose customer and business opportunities because of incomplete information
6. Duplication of effort

In research organizations, lot of researchers attend conferences, seminars, interact with fellow subject matter experts in meetings and phone conversations. They gain lot of knowledge, information through their interaction with other people with similar interest. If the acquired knowledge is not explicitly captured, the organization do not have advantage of the researcher knowledge and time spent. When the individual retires or leaves the job, all the knowledge that he had gained on the organization's behalf goes with the individual. The example can be extended most of the organizations.

While we understand the significance of explicit knowledge but it is important that we emphasize the need to convert and transform the tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge.

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