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Importance of Organizational Tacit Knowledge: Barriers to Knowledge Sharing

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Peter Yao Lartey, Junguo Shi, Rupa Jaladi Santosh, Stephen Owusu Afriyie, Isaac Akolgo Gumah, Mansuur Husein and Fatoumata Binta Maci Bah

Submitted: August 25th, 2021Reviewed: December 13th, 2021Published: January 31st, 2022

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.101997

Recent Advances in Knowledge ManagementEdited by Muhammad Mohiuddin

From the Edited Volume

Recent Advances in Knowledge Management [Working Title]

Dr. Muhammad Mohiuddin, Dr. Mohammad Abdul Moyeen, Dr. Md. Samim Al Azad and Ms. Shammi Ahmed

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This chapter incorporates the relevance of tacit knowledge and highlights some major barriers to knowledge sharing. Knowledge transfer is action through which; information, skills, expertise and experience is exchanged among people in an organization and it is a valuable and tangible asset for creating sustainability, performance and competitive advantage. From what is currently known, knowledge sharing activities occur generally with the support of knowledge systems designed by the board and knowledge managers. It is suggested that technology is one of the tools that support knowledge sharing, though other factors exist, such as organizational culture, trust, leadership and management philosophy, incentives and internal control systems. In this study, the researchers explore possible knowledge sharing opportunities and associated barriers, starting from top management to employees. The main purpose of this chapter is to look at how tacit knowledge affects organizational success. The chapter also covers ways to promote knowledge transfer in order to improve organizational performance and innovation. The discussion elaborated on the significance of tacit knowledge in a way that previous literature does not. It is emphasized that, from a resource-based view, businesses gain competitive advantage when they value and retain their existing tacit knowledge, as explicit knowledge is already known to everyone. According to the study, important variables such as corporate culture, individual employees, technology, and organizational internal factors are potential hurdles that must be examined to minimize the impact on organizational learning.


  • tacit knowledge
  • organizational learning
  • human capital
  • resource base-view

1. Introduction

Knowledge guarantees sustainable competitive advantage for an organization according to Grant [1] and classified as one of the most valuable and tangible resources that is acquire or replicated according to Nonaka et al. [2]. However, using knowledge as a strong competitive advantage require a unique resource which is hard to duplicate. The description of this resource matches with tacit knowledge [2]. All these arguments imply that tacit knowledge is a significant subject for discussion in recent advances in knowledge management. There is substantial evidence on the importance of knowledge management (KM) in organizational performance. Experts from a variety of fields, including management, economics, and sociology have made meaningful contributions to this subject [1, 3, 4]. Earlier studies proposed that the relevance of knowledge management necessitated a paradigm shift, given the increasing level of competiveness. This revelation led to organizations constantly embracing knowledge concepts and associated strategic models for performance and growth, meanwhile corporate executives are often confronted with the concerns of tacit knowledge sharing [5]. That is because knowledge management is seen as a necessity for efficiency in all sectors of business, whether public or private. Mårtensson [6], asserts that massive forces are shaping the business and financial sectors, resulting in significant changes to human capital and resource strategies. In addition, uncertainties in the form of natural calamities, pandemics, rapid economic and technological development, as well as shifting consumer expectations are all catalysts for knowledge requirements. Nevertheless, organizations are recognizing technological advantages to achieve long-term competitiveness through utilizing the stock of tacit knowledge and limiting the barriers to knowledge sharing within the organization.

As a result of businesses’ efforts to adapt rapidly, respond quickly to changes in their industries aggressively, steep learning curves are emerging. However, to make the competition irrelevant, businesses are concentrating their efforts on retaining experienced people, developing and using the employee potentials [7]. Knowledge application is attributed to availability raw material, labor and capital in past, today that perception has changed as the information age progresses and knowledge management advances. It is worth noting that, in modern management knowledge has superseded natural resources as the principal economic resource and a significant competitive advantage tool, and has remained a key component of all management operations.

Recent studies have highlighted several barriers to knowledge utilization, including individuals who lack the necessary educational background, training, and knowledge platforms to operate effectively in a knowledge-based environment [8]. A solution to this problem requires management to recognize and value knowledge through the development of existing human capital.

As a result, experienced personnel will be more willing to contribute to the organization’s success, sinceemployees retain approximately 90% of an organization’s knowledge, according to knowledge management literature [9]. These efforts were followed by various arguments describing the difference between knowledge and information. The essential features of knowledge management are made up of the mix of experience, values, skills contextual information and expertise that provides the framework for analyzing and absorbing new experiences and finding relevant information [10]. An individual’s knowledge is their human personal asset whereas information is just a message being communicated that is deemed unusable except understood meaningfully and used. Recent advances in knowledge management are focusing on knowledge other than natural wisdom, which researchers attribute to tacit knowledge, which is closely related to Polanyi’s claim that humans may have two forms of knowledge that may be used in different ways.

This chapter is organized according to the following sections; (i) the introduction consist of general overview of knowledge management, purpose and justification for the study (ii) section two contains the main literature review covering the main body of discussion, on tacit knowledge, objective knowledge, barriers to knowledge sharing, a proposed conceptual framework and factors affecting knowledge sharing. (iii) the third section covers the discussion of the main points relative to emerging issues and future research agenda and finally section (iv) presents a summary of the study outcome and the way forward.


2. Literature review

2.1 Objective knowledge

Several attempts to define tacit knowledge later acknowledged that it can be compared to objective knowledge, and that become one of the conversional definitions of tacit knowledge and established by many authorities in knowledge management literature [11]. In some explanations Smith [12], opined that it is the type of knowledge shared using symbolic gestures or signs between individuals and groups. The recipients of this knowledge can be as much in the known as the originator. It implies that objective knowledge may consist of two components. According to [13] the first category of objective knowledge is the ability to communicate; it is easily encoded, comprehended, written or documented and explained. The second classification is concerned with possessing objective knowledge. In the views of Lee et al. [14, 15] this type of knowledge is not peculiar to the individual possessing it or the organization. According to Inkpen and Dinur [16] this form of knowledge may be shared among a group of people. The diverse opinions of tacit knowledge and the few consensus has featured countless time in literature with the possibility of defining exactly what objective knowledge is. Irrespective of the consensus meanings of this term many scholars prefer to conceive their own terminologies that best describe objective knowledge. Hedlund [17] refers to it as articulated knowledge. Dampney et al. [18] defined it as articulable knowledge and according to Nonaka and von Krogh [19] the main attribute of objective knowledge is explicit, Fernandez and Sabherwal [20] consider it verbal while documented it as declarable in nature. These terminologies and definitions are the fundamental of knowledge management. However, these terms are often interpreted in contexts, but most importantly they tend to explain what tacit knowledge is not.

2.2 Tacit knowledge

It is relevant at this point to emphasize on the contributions of great authors like [21], when discussing the concept of knowledge management. According to [21], as humans we can know more than we can reveal. Put in another way, an individual has the potential to know much more then they can narrate or describe to others. These phases of [21] meant to describe tacit knowledge, which he identifies as almost impossible to document, interpret and encode. On the other hand, the rules and directions associated with executing it may not be known to the one possessing it. For example an experienced architect may be unaware of the some of the unique attributes a competent engineer and the individual may find it difficult to explain in detail what his main capabilities are. That goes to explain the tacitness of the knowledge we can possess. A different approach to define tacit knowledge is that, it is a kind of individualized talent or attributes. Titi Amayah [22], suggests that tacit knowledge is only discovered when certain conditions are met, since it is deeply buried in the mind. According to Sobel [23], it has cognitive dimension programed in the mind. These cognitive dimensions consist of mental models which only manifest under peculiar circumstances. Other opinions agree that, because these are embedded attributes and can go unnoticed, they are often disregarded and overlooked. Fu et al. [24], opined that tacit knowledge may be neutral due to the degree of emboddedness. These conditions describe tacit knowledge in a way that the knower may find it inexpressible. Recent scholars describe tacit knowledge as fully applied, descriptive and experimental. When one attempts to differentiate between a resource in the form of input and the process of utilizing the resource which is capability, it is more appropriate to avoid the generic term “resource” which incorporates both terms, but instead refer to capability, in the context of tacit knowledge. This is similar to Cardy and Selvarajan [25], who opined that technical knowhow is preferably used interchangeably with tacit knowledge. This assertions implies that tacit knowledge is partly constituted of technical skill with informal components difficult to account for or quantify. Above all, Martinsons et al. [26] tacit knowledge is occasional or manifest in peculiar situations and it is typically and conventionally acquired on the job through long period of application or apprenticeship. Therefore, tacit knowledge is inherently tied to activities and people.

2.3 Importance of tacit knowledge in an organization

Resource- based viewpoint examines the relationship between a firm’s performance and the value and characteristics of internal resources. This relationship is examined for the sake of measuring a firm’s competitive advantage according to Hedlund [17]. This approach indicates that every entity can be regarded as a pool of resources which are valuable, inimitable, and rare and without substitutes and that the resources are the main source of competitive advantage for the organization. The resource based view rather emphasizes more on the attributes of tacit knowledge which can be a source of sustainable competitive advantage. The value of tacit knowledge makes it irreplaceable, imprecisely transferrable and imitable because it is ingrained in the knower or the entity. It is also implicit, taken for granted and almost impossible to replicate by competitors. In Sanchez and Mahoney [27] opinion tacit knowledge is somehow shared between specific relationships or members of a group; such as colleagues of the same rank and people in the same department, it difficult for other firms to imitate. Additionally, tacit knowledge cannot be conveyed accurately or completely in a whole, like a mathematical formula or a computer language from person to person. On the other hand, this level of tacitness may not be in the known to the organization because tacitness also breeds insecurity Dalkir [5], under certain conditions an organization may overlook or undermine some of the precise actions and processes that contribute to their competitive advantage. Willem and Buelens [28], defines tacit knowledge as what is commonly termed skilled. But in a more elaborated way, it is defined it as sub element of knowhow with the opinion that a recipe is similar tacit knowledge [29]. Alternatively, tacit knowledge is referred to as procedural knowledge, undocumented informal knowledge which is a critical success factor of an entity. At the back of this argument, the term “knowledge” is instantly associated with “Scientific” and “Objectivity” This also creates a lot of anxiety and complexity of understanding the concept of tacit knowledge and by implication, knowledge is linked to tacit and tacit indicate subjectivity. Knowledge-based view of an organization require diverse and unique resources that should be hard to imitate or transferred and should be sustained longer [30]. Preserving knowledge based resources and assets may guarantee long term sustainability even in a hostile industry. Nonetheless, knowledge is termed as a belief which contributes to an organizations effective capability to execute certain positive actions. In this regard, tacit knowledge is a significant strategic asset capable of inspiring the future of an entity [31]. In any context, knowledge classified into tacit and explicit, where tacit is gained through long term practical experience and actions. As tacit knowledge is specific and pragmatic it is only absorbed, used without awareness and that makes it impossible to explain to others. This way, tacit knowledge is only shared in an interactive conversation through common experience. Old and current literature refer to tacit knowledge as personal intuition, talent and practical intelligence [32]. Despite the argument that tacit knowledge is most valuable and expensive, explicit knowledge is required to complement tacit knowledge. For example when tacit knowledge is identified, it the duty of the knowledge manager to ensure that it is transferred to those who require it through formal means such as documented information systems or in the form of communicated processes [33]. There, within an organization there are two ways identified tacit knowledge can be utilized through explicit knowledge; through organizational policies and set of laid down principles or by means of systemic procedures which are practiced on daily basis. According to Farzin, Kahreh, Hesan, and Khalouei [34] explicit knowledge is an island surrounded by tacit knowledge in an organizational setting. Tacit knowledge is required for the generation of explicit knowledge, its execution and retention such as the selection of a suitable software application, database and sequencing of operations to execute, and also for the analysis of results.

Furthermore, Pucik [35] stated that explicit, formal, or procedural knowledge may be viewed as a tool for both structure of experience and communicative involvement. Organizational tacit knowledge can be described as those unique qualities and strategies certain individuals possess which have repeatedly reproduced a pattern of positive results due the experience.When tacit knowledge is described as articulated it serves a unique purpose such as new knowledge creation and the motivation to promote internal capacity such as individual skill to meet the demand of present and future requirements [29]. In the context of strategic management protecting organizational tacit knowledge is a strategic mechanism for overcoming rivals.This level of competence enables an organization deploy the best internal capability to attain its objectives. Competence is the most appropriate term when referring to knowledge in the context of business since it incorporates various classes of qualities including; individual skills, talent, experience, value judgment and internal social networks. This is because individual competence may not be exactly duplicated, rather it is acquired through practical experience and application and it is difficult to imitate when buried in complex managerial policies and frequent procedures. In some exceptional cases business rivals may engage in comparable experience to acquire equal tacit knowledge, in long term [36]. One more significance of tacit knowledge is that, it is useful in conflict situations and hostile rivalry, competitors are unable to develop appropriate substitutes to control price and cost of resources. Finally, in the views of [37] the most important organizational resource for sustainable and renewable competiveness in tacit knowledge.

2.4 Tacit knowledge transfer

Key empirical studies have highlighted the relevance knowledge sharing and highlighted some major barriers to knowledge sharing [38]. Knowledge sharing is an activity through which; information, skills, expertise and experience is exchanged among people in an organization and it is a valuable and tangible asset for creating sustainability, performance and competitive advantage. From what is currently known, knowledge sharing activities occur generally with the support of knowledge systems designed by the board and knowledge managers [13]. Technology is one of the tools that support knowledge sharing, though other factors exist, and have been examined such as organizational culture, trust, leadership and management philosophy, incentives and internal control systems according to Sanchez and Mahoney [27]. In this study, the researchers intend to explore possible knowledge sharing opportunities and associated barriers, particularly with the board level.

Experts suggest that identifying tacit knowledge and protecting it from depleting is a challenging task for organizations. Although, knowledge sharing is now a common practice, there are major challenge in the field of management, particularly where some employees including board of directors may resist sharing their tacit knowledge. In other words people decline to share their long standing experiences, expertise and important ideas with the rest of the organization. Lee et al. [14, 15], this lowers the general efficiency, productivity and performance. In the context of sustainability this study re-emphasize the reasons why public organizations must encourage knowledge sharing at the board level to promote sustainability procurement.

Unlike tacit knowledge, explicit knowledge is available to everyone, therefore when an organization is committed to knowledge sharing, adequate procedures must be designed to document every important operational step that will help others improve and prevent existing knowledge from depleting, and from the perspective of corporate governance, it require knowledge sharing to pursue sustainability in today’s public administration.

Knowledge sharing occurs when exclusive knowledge is properly described in the information provided, and the audience are aware that the knowledge is available and accessible without difficulties [39]. Moreover, knowledge sharing can be beneficial when the body of knowledge is precisely defined and differentiated in contexts and domain of sustainability. This study is of the view that knowledge sharing can support sustainability when there is easy access to appropriate and relevant materials. Within the organization, board of directors are key components of the knowledge sharing system and are responsible for creating new knowledge to lead the organization.

According to a sample of recent findings, tacit knowledge is difficult to identify but could be influenced by developing informal social networks Willem and Buelens [28], thus daily interactions in a defined work environment. Existing knowledge platforms encourage individuals to demonstrate problem solving capability. The exchange of views and opinions lead to organizational learning. Knowledge sharing provides solutions to the challenges confronting others and in the end lowers cost and enhances efficiency. Creating thinking is also promoted using structured and unstructured experiments. Embedded knowledge is shared through routine processes and scenario planning. Arora [40], emphasized on management training and deliberate integration of people and activities to foster knowledge sharing.

2.5 Barriers to knowledge sharing

In this section, the study elaborate precisely on the barriers to knowledge from different perspectives as documented in literature. According to the founding fathers of the concept of knowledge management there has always been some key factors which have been highlighted and that include; (a) people or individual attributes, (b) organizational culture or ethics (c) emergence of technology and (d) internal organizational challenges [41], discovered that impediments to knowledge transfer begins at the individual level and then the cultural and philosophy as well as the corporate level. Loss of power, insecurity, disclosure and motivation are responsible for individual level challenges to knowledge sharing [42]. The assertion further narrate that people occupying positions and having a certain level of influence may not be willing to share their experience for the fear of losing their privileges. Also, someone possessing a certain unique talent may not pass on this knowledge to others for the purposes of job security and status in the organization. As rightly mentioned in Lindsey [43], knowledge is power and individuals may exercise fear to share their knowledge due to lose of supremacy. Additionally, individuals are motivated by their unique expertise which promote their value, couple with people feeling uncertain about their rank particularly for the fear of being replaced with young energetic and talented subordinate. In a similar comparison, it was opined that, people who lack continence and ability to estimate the impact of the knowledge may be consumed by inferiority complex. In such situations, they may either not share or avail themselves to learn. Wendling et al. [44], posit that lack or incentives may also compel certain individuals from airing their opinions irrespective of whether the platform is created for knowledge sharing or not. In a complex organizational environment inter personal conflicts, excessive bureaucracy and the consciousness of ranks within the organizational hierarchy contribute to lack of knowledge sharing. In a recent studies [45, 46], observed organizational culture contained in the leadership philosophy demonstrates managerial commitment to knowledge sharing. If the core values of an organization supports internal socials networks and encourage organizational learning, individuals would be motivated to offer constructive contributions which will break the barriers to knowledge sharing. Although [46] outline similar organizational level challenges including trust between superiors and subordinates. As people are rewarded and encouraged to transfer their experiences to others, non- availability of technology infrastructure, technology orientation or training and management overlooking the potential benefit of social media are some of the technological factors affecting knowledge sharing. In summary, although literature highlighted several factors, it appears the most dominant issues are associated with the individual, as the discussion is often centered on tacit knowledge being held by the individual. Figure 1 is a theoretical framework capturing the barriers and factors affecting knowledge sharing with the directions of hypotheses to support future empirical investigation.

Figure 1.

Conceptual framework. Source: Authors own elaboration.

2.5.1 Individual characteristics affecting knowledge sharing

Castellani et al. [47], observed that organizations with higher knowledge capital are more likely to build a strong competitive advantage in any sector and enjoy long term sustainability against their rivals. In this regard, access and locating a particular knowledge resource by the individual is key to performance and other accomplishments. As the individual is an important stakeholder and the custodian of tacit knowledge in the organization they are a great addition to the knowledge resource [48]. Therefore, whether to protect, retain or share tacit knowledge, it concerns the individual and their personal unique attributes towards willingness to share. Some empirical studies concluded that, the individual brilliance, talent are vital that is why the concept of tacit knowledge is primary centered on people as revealed that knowledge sharing have a significant impact on individual performance and generally the organizational success [49]. The study further recommended the understanding of how tacit knowledge directly affect the economic and financial performance. Subsequently, Ode and Ayavoo [50] analyzed the impact of knowledge transfer on organizational innovation and the findings suggest that, knowledge sharing has a significant relationship with individual and organismal performance, invocation leading to individual creativity. A similar comparative analysis suggest that, although sharing explicit knowledge positively contributes to organizational innovation, tacit knowledge sharing promotes the additional quality effects to the individual and organizational achievements.

2.5.2 Internal culture

This generally means the method of leadership mechanism made up of the philosophy and style the organization can be identified with. The culture of the organization could be bureaucratic, extreme rigidity, regards for high ethical standards, less concrete supervision, openness and collectivity. Whichever cultural elements are implemented by the organization, the impact on tacit knowledge could be advantageous or detrimental. Other elements of culture that may be associated with knowledge sharing as identified by Khaksar et al. [51], include interpersonal relationships and social trust, effective internal communication and information system dedicated to support knowledge transfer among people could be beneficial in this regards. Reward systems and the structure of the organization are likely determinants of knowledge flow within between people. When individuals are extremely conscious of their titles such as regard for seniority and rank, it may bread the tendency of knowledge sharing obstacles. Milne [52], studied the negative impact of imposition of strange cultures on people and the adverse impact on willingness to share knowledge. McDermott and O’dell [53] confirmed that usually a culture of intolerance is a major obstacle while culture of involvement encourages knowledge initiatives. It is risky for an organization to have knowledge sharing embedded in the culture as it could hurdle creation of new knowledge initiatives.

In other words, positive organizational cultures may promote knowledge sharing example; diversity, social behavior, informal relationships and organizational learning aimed at promoting individual creativity. Culture is aspect of organizational structure that describes people by their shared core values. A very common definition of culture is credited to Collins and Porras [54] organizational culture defines the organizational behavior, philosophy and values observed by the people, including management, employees and the board in manner that influences the conduct of individuals to pursue the objectives of the enterprise” rather than the corporate values based on the structure and hierarchy, social factors (social networks, social relationships, hierarchical relationship, trusting relationships among individuals), which impacts more on the attitude of the people to work towards the strategic objectives of the organization in relations to expectations.

2.5.3 Technology impacts

An essential requirement for any knowledge sharing initiative is designing a central database for storing and disseminating knowledge among people in an organization. Therefore technology function as the mode of communication, identification of the source of relevant knowledge and transporting this relevant knowledge to the intended persons timely. Some earlier arguments suggest that knowledge management has no connection with technology as it is entirely associated with people. However, many reasons suggest that in contemporary management science, technology facilitates effective knowledge transfer irrespective of the geographical location. According to, Willem and Buelens [28] technology has brought total reformation into corporate culture and that has influenced interactions between people such as the frequency of holding discussions and disseminating relevant information. According to Neches et al. [55], technology has enhanced knowledge accessibility, interaction and rapid responses. Technology has made available various dynamic options through which individuals and corporations can access knowledge and important information more rapidly. Irrespective of the volume of data or information required, with the use of technology mediums large amount of data and information can be shared in the matter of seconds. A major hurdle to the use of technology in KM is the lack of expertise and an organizational culture that does not support technology adoption [56]. Additionally, technology adoption could pose a major risk if management fails to initiate effective controls and protect access to important documents except authorized persons.

2.5.4 Organizational factors

Internal conflicts, structural dimensions, managerial procedures, and assessment and incentive structures that prevent knowledge sharing frequently obstruct necessary positive initiatives [57]. The uniqueness of an entity is expressed in a variety of ways, depending on its underlying values and beliefs. The organizational or corporate principles are constantly referred to as its values, concepts, and systems, which either support or obstruct knowledge creation and internal collaboration within firms [58]. It is well established that organizational culture plays a significant role in the development of a learning organization. Additionally, positive relationships among employees and a strong company culture may be beneficial. Develop their desire to offer their expertise [59]. There are several variables that promote information exchange and give motivation to adopt new technologies. Methods of communication [60, 61]. The most critical, however, are training and incentive systems. Management provisions, donation guidelines, and a designated responsible person.


3. Discussion and emerging issues

This chapter adds to the body of knowledge on knowledge management (KM) literature by identifying research gaps, articulating new arguments, and charting a new course for future research in relation to the work of Bureš [42], Ahammad et al. [62], Dalkir [5], Hafeez and Abdelmeguid [63], Lindsey [43], Mårtensson [6], Lartey et al. [8], McDermott and O’dell [53], Smith [12]. Additionally, identifying critical factors affecting knowledge transfer may assist a variety of stakeholders in academia, industry, and diverse practitioners involved in this field, thereby advancing the culture of knowledge dissemination.

The findings of this study captures the viewpoints of notable experts in the field, following a thorough review of literature on key research questions and identified the following primary areas of concern reported in past research that have generated significant debate:

  • Knowledge managers’ inability to catalog internal barriers to any sort of knowledge exchange between individuals is a significant barrier to the organization’s success.

  • The act of transforming implicit -to- explicit knowledge is referred to as “externalization,” which consists of capturing tacit knowledge by means of coding aided by initiating organizational learning, social interactions, technology infrastructure to facilitate rapid information dissemination, informal relationships between the people irrespective of ones rank and the designing knowledge program to support succession planning so as to protect the knowledge stock of the organization from depletion in the event that a key personnel retires or leave. These are the views of prominent researchers [1, 4, 34, 45, 53]. However, the main challenge facing knowledge mangers is the inability to capture and document known ideas and talents of their workers prior to their retirement. A critical argument is how tacit knowledge can be expressed openly in the same ways as explicit knowledge, taking into account the resource and competence levels of large and small enterprises, public and private entities with varying R&D programs.

  • In another observation Mooradian [64] associated the main disadvantage of tacit knowledge to the process of transformation which require a lot of skills and competence. In reality, if people do not exchange their tacit knowledge it may remain unknown though interpersonal communication exist it may reveal information to only one person at a time, while other group members may require time to gather tacit information. More so a significant downsides is that once tacit knowledge is lost, it may revert to tacit, and subsequently take a toll on the organization. Two research questions arise as a result of this discovery. (i) is tacit knowledge sufficient to create competitive advantage? (ii) does an organization’s intellectual capital generate tacit knowledge?

Furthermore, this study observes that as tacit knowledge is difficult to define in simple terms, the criteria and dimensions are often interpreted wrongly without taking into account distinct organizational context, industry, and sector fit elements. As cited in Nonaka and von Krogh [19] the inexpressible nature of tacit knowledge is a significant barrier to knowledge sharing despite several studies discussing tacit knowledge institutionalization through interdisciplinary approach using organizational learning, intellectual assets, social capital, human resource management and strategic management a significant research gaps still exist. This observation requires an in-depth investigation in this field of discourse to generate a more informed perspective.

The impact of information technology may be an underutilized emerging factor that could break down barriers to knowledge sharing; however, there is evidence in current literature of the use of technological solutions to facilitate the integration and exchange of new knowledge between persons; thus, the following question may be useful to investigate: how is tacit knowledge identified, stored, and codified with the aid of information technology? In conclusion, evaluating the aforementioned research problems may allow for a better understanding and broadening of the theoretical underpinnings of tacit knowledge in specific knowledge management disciplines, which is currently absent in existing literature.


4. Conclusion

This study built on prior studies and provided an overview of current research on the importance of tacit knowledge in organizations and possible barriers to knowledge sharing. By implication the chapter explored the application of knowledge management and how it is seen and executed in a variety of knowledge-based research studies that focused on tacit knowledge. The study discovered that there are numerous components to tacit knowledge inquiry, including human capital, intellectual capital, organizational learning, creativity, competitive advantage, organizational culture, social networks, and the role of technology in knowledge sharing. The study argues that these dimensions are critical for comprehending tacit knowledge. The study concludes that extensive scientific research into the foundation of tacit knowledge is necessary in order to facilitate continuous dissemination knowledge in any organizational environment. Regardless of the value of tacit knowledge, a strong combination with explicit knowledge is necessary. In summary knowledge sharing benefit organizational accomplishments because the classifications of knowledge are critical for organizational success when individuals freely exchange experiences. According to experts, discovering tacit knowledge and preventing its depletion is a difficult task for enterprises. Although knowledge sharing is now a widespread practice, there are significant challenges in the field of management, particularly since some employees, including board members, may be hesitant to share their tacit knowledge. In other words, individuals refuse to share their extensive knowledge, competence, and critical thoughts with the rest of the organization. This has a detrimental effect on overall efficiency, production, and performance. This study re-emphasizes the importance of recognizing the barriers to knowledge sharing and pursuing solutions to increase organizational learning. Unlike tacit knowledge, explicit knowledge is publicly available; therefore, when an organization is committed to knowledge sharing, sufficient protocols must be developed to document each critical operational step that will aid others in improving and preventing current knowledge from depletion.



This work has been supported by the Humanities and Social Sciences Project Funded by the Ministry of Education of China (Grant number: 21YJC630112) and National Natural Science Funding of China (Grant number: 72102090).


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Written By

Peter Yao Lartey, Junguo Shi, Rupa Jaladi Santosh, Stephen Owusu Afriyie, Isaac Akolgo Gumah, Mansuur Husein and Fatoumata Binta Maci Bah

Submitted: August 25th, 2021Reviewed: December 13th, 2021Published: January 31st, 2022