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Knowledge Management

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Theory about tacit knowledge

Tacit knowledge plays a vital part in determining the right process when it comes to reasoning and learning, ideally a good source of experience that set forth intelligence on a stable level. Practical intelligence is also observed when there is tacit knowledge from various disciplines and authors. For one, tacit knowledge is held in non verbal form, holder cannot provide useful verbal explanation to another individual, tacit knowledge becomes embedded in routines and cultures as such those expressed in symbols and communicated to other individuals by use of the symbols (Schulz, 1998). The theory that relates to codification (Zander and Kogut, 1995) as for knowledge is expressed in writing at the transfer period. Personal knowledge is believed to be hard to articulate and can solely be acquired through experience.

Thus, individuals or firms might choose to keep their knowledge tacit in order to prevent its transfer and diffusion, maintaining competitive advantage. The emphasis is not novel to studies of organization (Kreiner, 1998), there is about knowledge of particular circumstances of time and place (von Hayek, 1948, p. 60), tacit knowledge that one hold. This knowledge has been important for understanding organizational routines (Nelson and Winter, 1982). von Hayek emphasized that different individuals hold different bits of knowledge, of different perception of tacit knowledge, of technology and organization. The cognitive processes by which knowledge is created, distributed and shared thus become important to studies attempting to deal with the organization of technological knowledge (Garud and Rappa, 1995). The theory put into shared knowledge, knowledge networks upon representing cognitive frames and categories by which people structure innovative knowledge and then properly manage it. Knowledge networks are seen in technology applications and its advancement to organizations.

Tacit based knowledge is not that easy to approximate, knowledge can be seen in spectrum, finding tacit knowledge and coded knowledge (Leonard and Sensiper, 1998). In working life, epitomes of tacit knowledge such as intuition, rule-of-thumb, gut feeling and personal skills. For instance, technical dimension include information and expertise in relation to know-how and the cognitive dimension of beliefs and values (Gore and Gore, 1999). Individuals are primary repositories of tacit knowledge that due to transparent characteristics can be hard to communicate. In tacit knowledge, one has emancipated oneself from technical formula for action like, be able to cook without  recipe or to have an intuitive feeling of the right decision. Thus, cannot be managed and taught in the same manner as explicit knowledge.

Examples of tacit knowledge in everyday life

Describe and explain tacit knowledge

Tacit knowledge cannot be given in lectures and not found in databases, manuals or internal newsletters, have to be internalized in the human body and soul. Different methods for example, apprenticeship, direct interaction, networking and action learning that includes face to face social interaction and practical experiences are more suitable for supporting the sharing of tacit knowledge (Lawson and Lorenzi, 1999).  The assumption of unsurprising premise in world of change and surprises, as such experience have pace of changes within the business such as airline related business and societal dominance does increase vividly. Tacit knowledge is central to learning experiences wherein from dictum as quoted ‘we cannot step in the same river twice as the river is always in flux, in stage of becoming’,

Knight (1921, p. 311) also indicated people ‘live in a world full of contradiction and paradox, fact of which perhaps the most fundamental illustration, the existence of problem of knowledge depends on the future being different from the past, while the possibility of the solution of the problem depends on the future being like the past’. Tacit knowledge is true in high caliber industries, presenting tenets relating to information technology in which individuals and organizations continue to discover technological potentials and develop new ideas for application of technology, which enters and destroys existing landscapes by process relating to what is known as creative annihilation (Schumpeter, 1975).

Discuss the fit of tacit knowledge

Thus, in the environment with changing technology, tacit knowledge might be subject to distortion and uncertainty and future is not easy to predict as airline business in UK may be faced by hyper competition due to tacit knowledge imposed by such networks in IT and its systems (D’Aveni, 1994), and in order to survive business will use combinations of resources (Ilinitch et al., 1996) and be able to cautiously avoid competence traps (Levitt and March, 1988) by means of balance in exploration as well as exploitation (Chia, 1998; Kreiner, 1998; Nonaka et al., 1996; Tsoukas, 1998) where knowledge and change are prominent themes in management of knowledge and organizations upon embodying qualities. The knowledge that goes along with academic stature, upon assigning particular role in framework, recognizing the business as one effective source of steadiness and certainty.

The ideas that present knowledge networks, Powell (1998, p. 229) have noted, ‘when uncertainty is high, organizations interact more with external parties in order to access both knowledge and resources’. Relevant to view knowledge networks as providing stability in changing and uncertain world and the need to manage knowledge networking as one indicator of tacit knowledge on a right direction. Scarbrough (1996) have found respective roles played by workers and IT functions within organizations could contribute to the appearance and capacity of knowledge organization systems adopted by British Airways.

Another example can be seen of Nonaka and Konno (1998) upon certain model of knowledge creation from within SECI model, concern transfer of tacit knowledge. Tacit knowledge is converted to tacit knowledge. Learning is achieved for example by modeling or team-work. For knowledge to be shared it first has to be made conscious and articulated; an externalization must occur (Nonaka and Konno, 1998), knowledge is transferred by communication at for example meetings or discussions. Tacit knowledge cannot be taught, trained or educated (Brockmann and Anthony, 1998), it can only be learnt. To learn tacit knowledge requires active contribution of the learner and the learning process takes time.

Tacit knowledge in the organization

Describe the organization

British Airways is UK’s largest international scheduled airline, flying to 148 destinations at convenient times, to the best located airports(British Airways Annual Report and Accounts, 2008/2009, p. 2). British Airways one of largest and successful airlines operating in UK upon exploring tacit knowledge concepts from within supporting decisions and management process of internal clients, it may be modified technique and practice that British Airways make intuitive and creative ways upon securing effective knowledge base.

Core activities of British Airways Plc and its subsidiary undertakings are the operation of international and domestic scheduled air services for the carriage of passengers, freight and mail and the provision of ancillary services (British Airways Annual Report and Accounts, 2008/2009, p. 1).

Describe and explain the tacit knowledge and in what way it is tacit

Modern world assimilation, knowledge in organization is anything but easy to grasp for instance, knowledge becomes specialized, markets increases diversity, making knowledge in dispersion, wherein cognitive frames can be destroyed and undergo steady change. Cognitive frames are critical to effective use of tacit based knowledge (Langlois, 1998). There can be about knowledge and technology relations a fundamental base when dealing to technology and business (Kreiner, 1998). Technology indicates a sense of know-how, beliefs as well as knowledge artifacts (Garud and Rappa, 1994, 1995), technologies manifests representation of the tacit knowledge (Garud and Rappa, 1995).

The technology oriented knowledge accounts to tacit means, something existing and or given, symptom of facts that it noted that technology evolution brought to the age of knowledge society thereunto. Tacit knowledge in technology networks can serves as a core process of understanding how the society acts and response to situations, upon denoting of technology development in place (Kreiner, 1998). Fo9r example, one indication of industrial society has been organized around knowledge of social control and directing innovation and change (Bell, 1973, p. 20). Bell (1973), adheres to theoretical knowledge placing change in character of knowledge, decisions and direction of change into the center of theoretical knowledge, codifying knowledge along with IT system that allow symbols illuminating several areas of experience and learning.

 There is also about non-consumable resource for example, the usage of tacit knowledge without using it up and the idea of ergo, wherein knowledge usage more fit is desired in a span of time. Kreiner (1992, p. 62) upon recognizing that tacit knowledge is transient resource since, the latter’s relevance and credibility is on time and context. Ideally, people can’t regard knowledge as something that they collected and constructed as tacit knowledge must be continually is replicated by means of effective execution and spontaneous application. Furthermore, knowledge imply certain dynamic entity, and knowledge can be added and knowledge in stagnant motion will fade (March, 1991; Prahalad and Hamel, 1990). Thus, there is a need to sustain capability to produce through ongoing maintenance and development of tacit knowledge, and be able to utilize knowledge in order not to degenerate easily.

In British Airways, tacit knowledge can be immeasurable resource for instance, technology as well as market knowledge, knowledge o production, skill coordination and integration of technology, finding knowledge in routine, culture and many others (Walsh and Ungson, 1991). Thus, knowledge possessed by British Airways may not comprise of uniform group, within British Airways, one can find dedicated knowledge possessed by executive units. British Airways knowledge needs to be mutual with knowledge from other units and remain feasible and valuable to British Airways, even important preventing other units from getting caught in ability traps of technology base. The nature of knowledge networks within British Airways will decide aptitude to assert knowledge and explore airline business chances as well as the skill to manage ambiguity and alterations.

Discuss the organizational fit of tacit knowledge

Indeed, managing knowledge networks within the business can assume that networks are loose kind, difficult to manage, issue of scheming and directing flows of information, tasks of managing knowledge networks is one of creating convenience as such, usually assumed that technological learning is enhanced when technically skilled employees at British airways are encourage to collaborate with like minded in the organization. There assume that tacit knowledge improve outcomes of the learning process, Schulz (1998) indicated that, knowledge flow in the organizations is imperative because of the learning ways. For British airways, there can be reasons to encourage switch of tacit knowledge into technology based networking. It cannot be known ahead of time which knowledge will be needed in British airways and what kind of knowledge is needed in actual means, certain knowledge can survive in a diverse place than predicted forward. Hansen (1999) found that finding and acquiring knowledge place different demands on networking technology.

Hansen (1999) investigated the role of weak ties in sharing knowledge across organizational sub-units, findings show that weak interunit ties help sub-unit search for useful knowledge but impede the transfer of tacit knowledge, which requires strong ties between the two parties to transfer. Thus, giving access to novel information by bridging disconnected groups and persons in the organization as to which everyone knows what the others know (Hansen, 1999, p. 83). The turning concepts of tacit knowledge, difficulties and length of transfer go up as tacitness of knowledge transferred increase, tacit knowledge is best transferred through strong ties, whereas when weak ties exist among the two parties involved then transfer of tacit or non-codified knowledge is difficult. British airways will have to provide beneficial search position in technology networks, strong ties upon providing too much knowledge (Hansen, 1999, p. 84).

There present paradox to British airways operating in a changing environment, as such development teams are likely to depend on work of fiction, non-codified information to do well with some effort. If British airways team can obtain useful knowledge from units then it might be able to shorten completion time for British airways product development effort, as knowledge can help British airways avoid duplication of efforts for instance, using of accessible software module and or provide complementary expertise, as the expert help solve technical problem (Teece, 1986; Hansen, 1999). However, British airways knowledge might not be found if development team have network consisting of useful transportation of tacit information.

British airways require recurrent visits to and meetings with employees in units in a regular basis and the time on trouble resolving, British airways activities are not related to specific project and divert the team from its tasks and affecting such achievement time. Furthermore, ‘weak ties are likely to be valuable product development teams undertaking innovative projects, because weak ties can point to useful knowledge which the teams did not know about in advance’ (Hansen, 1999, p. 101). British airways with networks consisting of weak ties are likely to be able to find narrative knowledge and if knowledge is non-codified British airways will not be able to obtain it.

Not holding tacit knowledge

Ideally, those not holding the tacit knowledge cannot be effectively productive those employees found in the lower levels can acquire less tacit knowledge, those employees whose performance does not move in a rightful balance of intelligence and practical skills put into actual decision and action. Those without tacit knowledge can take advantage of it by not putting awareness to such feelings and emotions of people within the organization. The lack of efficiency of ties for knowledge sharing at British airways depend on the tacitness of knowledge shared. Strong ties are best if the knowledge to be shared is tacit and non-codified whereas the opposite is true for weak ties.

People, society and business do rely on knowledge network to access information, skills and resources that cannot be produced by the organization internally in timely manner (Powell, 1998, p. 228). Although knowledge networks exist, British airways might not be of kind to facilitate search and transfer of knowledge, when British airways consider strategy for building knowledge networks British airways should take account that strong ties may constrain flows of knowledge and inhibit knowledge outside channels. Tacit knowledge assume understanding of how people store experience is in terms of episodes, decision and action can be product of sequence of event (Reber and Squire, 1994). The skill based advantage, outcome towards repetition is much, there is also slow sequencing of knowledge matters (Holyoak and Spellman, 1993).

There are mechanism that British Airways use to deal with complexities they are facing, unconscious process can play within individual and group decision (Stokes, 1994). There is can be advantage in lieu to causal thinking, explain how location base affects elements, operating in a different way (Sparrow, 1998). There can be failure of systems thinking realization and not fully examine dynamics of interrelationship as nature changes as it interacts with other knowledge elements, as knowledge can be locked in terms of positive mindset, Sparrow (1998) noted that, ‘knowledge can be considered a form of thought and type of thinking which is not unified. Thus, advantage towards knowledge in operation at British Airways will be gathering of the ways (Sparrow and Bushell, 1997).


Therefore, it is imperative to take account on studies sharing certain tacit knowledge in everyday life and business/organizations. Tacit knowledge serves valuable resource of business as such in British airways and to be considered significant although interests can place marginal sense. Thus, tacit knowledge will be ideal to decision making, putting effective relations within decisions as well as time management and competence.

There is really a need to unleash tacit knowledge in the organization, sharing of knowledge must be managed separately and tools to support dispersal of tacit knowledge. Perhaps, people can find ways to overcome issues of knowledge resources of quantity of tacit information.


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