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Tacit Knowledge Transfer in Small Segment of Small Enterprises (Management Project)

Background: Though small enterprises are regarded as engine for the modern economy, they are not pioneers when it comes to implementing new advances like tacit knowledge transfer procedures. Tacit knowledge is often referred as skill, know-how and expertise which are embedded in each individual in an organization.

The critical skills and competences of employees are intangible assets and firms’ intellectual resources. In this context, the tacit dimension of knowledge is potentially important to be transferred among individuals, either in tacit or explicit form, to build the core capabilities of small enterprises.

Problem Discussion: The existent Knowledge Management (KM) research has been mainly focused on big companies, providing little information for small enterprises. Authors believe the lack of attention that those small enterprises are putting on the strategic management of their knowledge is worrying. Tacit knowledge is one of the less explored areas within KM due to the difficulty to codify, formulate or express it. Despite this fact, it is perceived as “some kind of Holy Grail that will enable magnificent things to happen as soon as the codes of tacit knowledge have been deciphered”.

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to increase the understanding of the transference of tacit knowledge among individuals within small segment of small enterprises.

Method: To gather the information pertaining to tacit knowledge transfer in the small segment of small enterprises, authors have performed a qualitative and explanatory research by conducting several interviews with two small companies.

Result: Tacit to tacit knowledge transfer has been identified as more relevant than tacit to explicit conversion in the small segment of small enterprises. Therefore the main drivers of the transference of tacit knowledge are learning at personal level and common culture. Time, cost and distance have been recognized as major problems for small enterprises when transferring tacit knowledge.
Source: Linköping University
Author: Bajracharya, Pranisha | Roma Masdeu, Natalia

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