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Knowledge Management

#KnowledgeAge 5

During a recent instruction in knowledge management (KM), the topic of tacit and explicit knowledge was discussed. Let me first set the stage with a few concepts. Knowledge is that which resides in the mind. Knowledge is viewed as a resource. Management is the act of controlling or influencing a resource, which includes such activities as planning, organizing, staffing, leading or directing, and controlling (Wikipedia, 2015). So, KM is the act of controlling or influencing knowledge resources.

Knowledge can be divided into two types: tacit and explicit. Explicit represents that portion of one’s know-how that can be codified, while tacit represents that portion of one’s know-how that cannot be codified. Tacit knowledge is that portion of one’s understanding that, in the case of a cook, gives one the ability to create a great meal without having to specifically follow any cooking directions; it’s what makes it possible for two cooks to create the same meal that taste different from one another. You might equate tacit knowledge as being individual perspectives on an explicit world – perspectives that can only be developed through experiential learning, through emotional exploration, and through sensory creations.

It is possible, however, to mimic the effects of tacit knowledge in much the same way the artistry of any famous artist can be copied and sold as an original, but there are little subtleties, little idiosyncrasies that highlight the fact that a copy is simply a fake.

The question I posed to everyone during the course of instruction is whether or not Watson can access both explicit and tacit knowledge? Watson, is an artificially intelligent computer system capable of accessing large amounts of “structured and unstructured content consuming four terabytes of disk storage” (Wikipedia, 2015). The content Watson has access to is explicit knowledge. If Watson is also capable of accessing tacit knowledge, Watson would in fact have attained characteristics that, up until this point, have only been available to organic entities. But, as mentioned earlier, that which makes tacit knowledge tacit could in fact be copied, making it a fake and not really tacit in the way tacit is defined…or does it?

What do you think?


Management. (2015, February 14). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 07:48, February 14, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Management&oldid=647061976

Watson (computer). (2015, February 13). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:39, February 14, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Watson_(computer)&oldid=646899217


About Daryl Horton

I'm an information and knowledge manager specializing in creating and sustaining learning organizations in a chaotic and often complex environment. I'm also an artist at heart and I do a lot of creative writing.


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