June 05, 2012

What a difficult task to transfer tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge

What a difficult task to transfer tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge. Well, reading today an author (Liebowitz,1999) he claims that the more expert one is, the harder it is to extract this knowledge and formalize it in a knowledge repository. Knowing this sort of conclusions, it makes me think how hard will be to get this knowledge from such experts, as soon as we head our first job.

However, for sure there is a possibility to do it, coming back to my former experience, I had to run a process, which was all about to gather tacit knowledge and transforming in explicit. I was devoted to such task by production director, perhaps because he noticed during meetings everyday the huge amount of knowledge from one of his engineers in terms of how to repair heating resistors of each mold (more than 500) in injection molding process. Believe or not, this process was not on paper, so the decision of which resistor might be suitable for the mold to repair, was made by this engineer who manage the process for almost 12 years.

Well, it was a big company, but this particular task which should have been done ages ago, it was delivered for him and myself.

The key of this story was, I could get all information from his experience which I will say, it was easy but I am aware of sometimes the expert will not keen to provide the information. Anyway, I am giving you guys, that its very common to find this sort of situations within companies, and definitely our task will be to update the knowledge from our own job or from a different worker in the company.


- 2 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Rasmus Gejl Kristensen

    Something i find funny about experts is that they are percieved as being smart and clever. I’m not saying the oppesite that they are not cleaver. But how usefull is knowledge if it cannot be translated? Lets imagine if every individual had its own languge and we were not able to speak to eachother. Would an expert in how to grow plants then be considered as being clever? No because no one would know what he did special and he would not be able to explain it either. So he simply becomes a man who put a seed int the ground which then grows.

    What I am trying to say is that if experts cannot translate there knowledge into “normal” languge they are not clever. And if clever is linked with being an expert a person who cannot transform his knowledge cannot be called an expert. An real expert are those who are able to comunicate his knowledge they are in my mind the clever ones. It does not have to be him or her self doing it but could be a team work. Which leads to another question who is the smart one in that team work? the one who generate knowledge or the one who converts it?

    05 Jun 2012, 23:31

  2. Johnnatan Escobar Posada

    Rasmus thanks for your comment bro, you know what, your feedback remind me when I was doing my project in my degree. I always had my supervisor behind me, telling me your peace of work is fine, good quality and good structure, but to be honest this is no understandable for everyone. So, Please Johnnatan you have to make sure that no only you, will understand what is on this paper. So I agree with you, that if an expert are not able to transfer his/her knowledge on a normal way, then it would not worth the effort made before.

    09 Jun 2012, 19:29


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