Mapping the tacit component: getting away from knowledge conversion

Mapping the tacit component: getting away from knowledge conversion
Document type
Working Paper
Jones, Barbara; Miller, Bob
Manchester Business School
Date of publication
29 July 2009
University of Manchester Business School Working Papers
Trends: economic, social and technology trends affecting business, Management & leadership: including strategy, public sector management, operations and production
Business and management
Material type

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This paper argues for a radical new understanding of the topic generally referred to as Tacit Knowledge. On the basis of a new appraisal of the work of Michael Polanyi, we argue that mapping, assessing, fostering, developing, and improving the tacit component in all use of skill and knowledge is more important for management than converting 'tacit knowledge' into anything else. We also argue that attention to the tacit component is especially relevant to the diffusion of skills and knowledge related to new technologies, products, and processes. Finally we also argue that it should not be taken for granted that the tacit component actually existing in any activity is optimal. We suggest that the individual competency is the only level on which the presence or lack of the necessary tacit component can be mapped.

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