In a learning organization, people are share more with each other. People gain knowledge through formal education, reading books, journals, attending the conference, discussing with others, real-life experience, job experience and so on. Base on the gathering knowledge we can define two types of knowledge i.e. tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge.
The knowledge that a person gains by individual experience that is tacit knowledge. Tacit knowledge refers to personal knowledge that a person acquires through life experience, discussion, sharing, observing, cultural practice, etc. It is a skill, ideas, and experiences that people have but is not codified. The characteristics of tacit knowledge are that it is difficult to transfer to another person by means of writing or verbalizing. Example of tacit knowledge, know the process to release pressure on work, generate innovative ideas, etc.
The knowledge that can be easily documented and can transfer person to person. It can express; put into words that’s why it is found within formal training. Examples of explicit knowledge are books, checklist, reports, charts, formulas, etc.
SECI model of Knowledge sharing
We know sharing is learning. By sharing explicit knowledge can convert into tacit knowledge or tacit knowledge can be documented for further use. The person with tacit or explicit knowledge can convert their knowledge at least into four categories:
Nonaka specifies these 4 methods of knowledge conversion. Nonaka’s SECI Model :
It is the process of sharing tacit knowledge through observing, presentations, discussion, practice, analyzing, etc. It is an easy and natural form of exchanging information. when we gossip with others we sometimes share our past experience, our observation with others that also enhance other’s experience and knowledge. This type of sharing is socialization. The beneficial site of socialization is that rich experiences can be shared and it is easy to do. On the other hand, these types of sharing hard to convert into the document.
Example: If you share a technique that you practice in real-life to reduce work pressure with your colleague, it may enhance his or her experience or knowledge about the technique. This type of sharing call socialization.
When tacit knowledge store in a form of documentation it’s called externalization. It is the process of expressing tacit knowledge into explicit. Here personal knowledge becomes a collective group of knowledge. We can not always memorize everything, some tacit knowledge may remove after a certain time, but through externalization this tacit knowledge becomes permanent.
Example: You go on a tour of Iceland and get off lots of experience (tacit knowledge) from your journey. Then you write a blog or book (explicit) about your experience. Therefore, your tacit knowledge converts into explicit.
It is the converting process of knowledge where new explicit knowledge is created by reorganizing existing explicit knowledge. Explicit knowledge is collected from inside or outside the organization. Then combined, edited or processed to form new explicit knowledge. It helps to documented and shared new knowledge easily. However, it is costly and time-consuming.
When one’s learning from reading, discussing, and doing things it becomes internalization. We learn from the book, journals, articles, checklist and then may apply it into our real life. Internalization can result in new ways of doing the same job. However, it is not easy to share new knowledge.
Examples of internalization: An employee read about “How to install an Anti-virus” from the documents provided by the software company. It is his explicit knowledge. Then, he gains knowledge about software (anti-virus) installation that is tacit knowledge. Here, explicit knowledge exchange into tacit knowledge.