Pioneers in tacit knowledge (Polanyi, 1962 & 1967, Argyris & Schön, 1975, and Schön, 1983 & 1987) have stipulated that tacit knowledge is a key driver of work practice. They have also reported that tacit knowledge is generally under-used in workplaces. Recently scholars (E.g. Baumard, 1999) have acknowledged the enormous potential of tacit knowledge for organisations. However, some authors (E.g. Davenport & Prusak, 1998) have contested the notion that tacit knowledge can be identified and consciously used, regarding it as an ‘untappable’ resource. In this paper it is argued that tacit knowledge can be made explicit and used to improve organisations. The paper draws on previous research (Hall, 1994) which developed a method for identifying valued tacit knowledge in the workplace and also produced a grounded theory (Glaser and Strauss, 1967, Strauss & Corbin, 1990) for using tacit knowledge to improve work practice. The paper continues by identifying several methods for converting tacit knowledge to explicated knowledge and using it to improve organisations. Finally, one of these methods is illustrated through a case study of the executive component of a national award winning leadership and cultural change program for educational leaders in Perth, Western Australia (Hall, 2006). In conclusion, I proffer the view that tacit knowledge is an accessible and rich resource for reflective practice that enhances leadership and cultural change in organisations.
|Keywords:||Tacit Knowledge, Leadership, Action Learning, Cultural Change, Theory/Practice, Reflective Practice|
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education and Arts, School of Education., Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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