Tacit Knowledge and Pedagogy at UK Universities

Abstract: Some observations of 20+ UK Universities offering courses in Knowledge Management suggest the area of Tacit Knowledge is being ignored or given a back seat in to the more traditional didactic and formal teachings of Knowledge Management. The paper discusses what Tacit Knowledge is and why it is becoming the only remaining ‘tool’ left for many organisations to maintain added value and competitive advantage. Some evaluation of how organisations attempt to manage their tacit knowledge assets and what they require from them is sought with a corresponding gap analysis sketched out. By its nature tacit knowledge is generally unstructured and informal and that as far as it is possible, the most effective teaching and learning associated with it is unlikely to be so structured and formal. The question as whether tacit knowledge can be managed and taught in the traditional sense is evaluated. It proposes that less formal approaches to studying and teaching within Knowledge Management programs could make greater use of play and serendipity that these too might be more productive for maintaining organisational advantage in the long run within organisations themselves. To accommodate this tacit knowledge complexity and informality universities might look to changing their pedagogy and emphasis within KM programs in particular and some suggestions are made as to what that curriculum might look like.

Harvey Wright: Tacit Knowledge and Pedagogy at UK Universities; Challenges for Effective Management. Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management, 6 (1), 2008: 49-62.

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