Research Methods in the Tacit Knowledge Domain

  • Jana Matošková
  • The International Journal of Knowledge Culture and Change Management Annual Review, January 2009, Common Ground Publishing
  • DOI: 10.18848/1447-9524/cgp/v09i05/49750

What is it about?

Tacit Knowledge is discussed more and more. It seems as an important factor for achieving success in personal life as well as for an organisational competitive advantage. Unfortunately, there are some troubles connected with Tacit Knowledge. Fundamentally, Tacit Knowledge is difficult to express with words, numbers or other symbols. Some authors think it is even impossible. Sometimes the Tacit Knowledge holder doesn’t know that he/she owns something valuable or important, because he/she uses it spontaneously. So researchers in the Tacit Knowledge domain must overcome a lot of difficulties: How to find out Tacit Knowledge or evidence of its being? How to express it if it is almost inexpressible? How to overcome Tacit Knowledge subjectivity? In the paper, there are presented some approaches to research methods in the Tacit Knowledge domain. Methods of data acquisition (observing, interviews, psychological tests, and questionnaires), their advantages and disadvantages are discussed. Experiments to quantify Tacit Knowledge are mentioned too. It would be useful if we managed to measure and quantify Tacit Knowledge, because Tacit Knowledge is a part of organisational Intellectual Capital. This means managers must have some control over what their workers do. They need some standards which they could follow. Secondly, managers must report if the “investment” in knowledge was successful and achieved anticipated results or not. Finally, managers must have a feedback which can help to find out a discrepancy in Knowledge Management.

Why is it important?

Authoress’s attention is concentrated on some researchers’ approaches to this domain and methods of data acquisition they used. Tacit Knowledge is practical know-how which enables humans to cope with specific situations and successfully complete specific actions. If we have more information how Tacit Knowledge moulding in people’s mind proceeds, especially, what factors support this moulding, next what ways to spread Tacit Knowledge among people is possible, if and how it is possible to make Tacit Knowledge explicit and quantify it, it will have a benefit not only for development of Knowledge Management, but also for development of Human Resource Management. We may be able to predict individual performance in work.


Dr. Jana Matošková
Tomas Bata University in Zlín

The aim is to give an inspiration for their research to novices dealing with tacit knowledge.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr. Jana Matošková