What is Tacit Knowledge? Examples, Benefits & Importance

When you’re starting with a complete knowledge base system for your company, you must know that tacit knowledge is one of the most vital types. It is acquired via personal experience and is difficult to convey to others. In fact, tacit knowledge in the workplace may relate to processes and techniques that can only be learned via practical experience, context, and learning. Today, we are going to learn about tacit knowledge, some examples, and its impact on your business. 

Tacit Knowledge

Understanding The Different Types Of Knowledge: Explicit, Tacit & Implicit

Understanding the various types of knowledge is the first step in building a successful knowledge sharing and management plan for your business. There are seven types of knowledge but everything revolves around 3 core ones. Let’s take a look at them in brief. 

Explicit Knowledge For Documentation

Explicit knowledge exists as information that can be analyzed, saved, and organized. This is easily stated and shared, and its meaning is obvious. If you want to see an example of explicit knowledge, open your knowledge management solution and browse around. All of your company’s data sheets, white papers, research reports, and so on are examples of explicit company knowledge. In fact, the datasheets or books that you keep for your business – that, too, are types of explicit knowledge.

Implicit Knowledge(Applied Information)

Implicit knowledge, the second type, is knowledge learned through incidental activities or without being conscious that learning is taking place. Knowing how to walk, run, ride a bicycle, or swim are all instances of implicit knowledge. Even if a customer reads the manual to learn how to use your WordPress software, they are getting Implicit Knowledge.

Tacit Knowledge

Tacit knowledge, our main point of focus for this guide, refers to information, talents, and abilities gained by experience that are often difficult to put into words or share in any other way. Tacit knowledge is also known by a few other names, including:

  • Experiential knowledge
  • Tribal knowledge
  • “Know-how” knowledge

The phrase “tribal knowledge” refers to the reality that tacit information commonly spreads within an organization without being documented—and, in some cases, without being deliberately pointed out or discussed. this type of knowledge base plays a big part if you have creative ideas and high ambition.

Suppose, your team learns about the different WordPress software you’re producing through testing, trials, and errors – they are learning through experience – and this is what Tacit Knowledge truly represents. 

Further Explanation Of Tacit Knowledge With Examples

Tacit Knowledge

First of all, you need to understand that you cannot send someone to a course to learn tacit knowledge. Although this is a requirement for acquiring tacit knowledge, the personal experience and project quality that comes with it must be gained through time. It’s the most challenging portion, but it’s also the most valuable because that’s what makes it long-lasting. Now, let’s go through how you can access this knowledge to gain a deeper understanding.

1. Learning A New Language

Whenever you are learning a completely new language, it is an example of tacit knowledge. To become fluent in a language, you usually have to study and practice for a long period or discover immersive training programs where you can engage yourself in the language. Articulating or writing the rules of a new language may be difficult and time-consuming but it is the foremost way and a true example of learning tacit knowledge. 

2. Developing Leadership Skills

Another example of tacit knowledge is leadership, which is difficult to teach. Great leaders tend to exhibit qualities such as effective communication, active listening, and high emotional intelligence, which can be difficult to express to people without them having to experience all these qualities themselves. You may tell someone what makes a good leader, but only so much of effective leadership is influenced by exposure and personality. 

It is not something one learns overnight or even within a month. In fact, even after years of training, learning, and preparation, there is no assurance of success as a leader. And nothing can be a greater proof of the fact that tacit knowledge is only gained through experiences and time.

3. Developing Your Intuition

Intuition is another kind of tacit knowledge. Intuition is the intrinsic capacity to comprehend situations and circumstances without the need for reasoning. It’s a valuable talent for businesses and marketers, such as yourself, to have since it allows you to determine when the optimal moment to launch a new product is or when it’s suitable to adopt a riskier marketing plan. And understanding such pros and cons, and acting upon that, comes directly from gaining tacit knowledge.

4. Learning New Hard Skills

Playing musical instruments, learning a new sport, or developing innate abilities are all instances of tacit knowledge as well.

Gymnasts, for example, frequently do sophisticated physical moves such as handstands and splits. While it is feasible to describe how to execute these tasks or demonstrate them to the athletes, transferring the tacit information required to inform things like muscle memory is more difficult and can only be gained when the performer practices himself over and over.

So these are some real-life examples where you can ascertain certain tacit knowledge by following some tasks. Now, let’s find out how you can gain benefits and advantages from this core knowledge type. 

How To Gain Competitive Advantage With Tacit Knowledge?

Now that you understand what tacit knowledge is, you may be asking if tacit information is valuable enough to help you get a competitive advantage. The answer is a definite YES. Let’s explore why is so important. 

1. Allows You To Learn From Other Experiences

The benefit of tacit knowledge sharing is that it fills knowledge gaps and allows you to learn from the experiences of others (as well as yourself). When you open yourself up to other people’s points of view, you gather knowledge that will help you better your business and its methods. 

Start by exploring various tactics and case studies. Here are some excellent practices to follow:

  • Begin on a small scale with a fresh plate to gain experience.
  • Find ways to make positive changes to metrics.
  • Increase the length and duration of the experiment.
  • Document your results and determine what works and what does not.

The nicest part about failing early and learning from the mistakes of others is that it offers you more direction for the future.

2. Helps You To Communicate More Effectively

Tacit Knowledge

The thing about tacit knowledge is that it cannot be explained; it is simply absorbed through experience within an organization. Many misunderstandings occur in large organizations when two divisions face outputs that contradict each other. For example, the customer service and marketing teams may disagree with the outcomes desired by the sales team.

Making all information transparent and available to all employees via an internal knowledge base is one method to avoid misconceptions. BetterDocs is the ultimate knowledge base solution that can help you to manage any documentation both for your customers or your own team, with the feature to add an internal knowledge base. Follow this article for more about how BetterDocs can help you as a tacit knowledge solution.

3. Teaches You To Recognize Other Points Of View

Human capital is a company’s most valuable asset, and one of the finest things a company can do is leverage each employee’s expertise and viewpoint. Technical abilities may be taught by any organization, but each person’s tacit knowledge and experience are more significant, as mentioned just a little earlier.

Being able to recognize another person’s perspective, and empathize with them, is a valuable customer service skill. It is how you can establish a solid relationship between yourself and your customer by prioritizing their point of view. 

4. Differentiates Your Company from Competitors

Incorporating a tacit knowledge base provides your business with a competitive advantage. It not only contributes to better decision-making but also enables your organization to better serve its internal and external stakeholders.

Appreciate the significance of your workers’ tacit knowledge since it is irreplaceable. Competitors can take your tools and methods, but they cannot reproduce the contributions and experiences of your workers. So building a tacit knowledge base system is very important.

How can you build a tacit knowledge base? The solution is simple. Just as you would create a product or service-focused documentation, you can also compile and document information from the experience of your team members in one internal knowledge base.

Manage Your Tacit Knowledge With Ease Using BetterDocs

BetterDocs, the ideal documentation and knowledge base plugin, can help you take your management system to new heights. This knowledge base plugin has everything you could possibly need to build an appealing, organized documentation page, including a variety of magnificent premade templates, an easy-to-use built-in customizer, and much more. BetterDocs has an Instant Answers Chatbot, built-in documentation analytics, and many more features.

And with that, we come to the end of our comprehensive guide to tacit knowledge. We hope this post was useful for your knowledge base management in the company; please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Join our Facebook Community, or subscribe to our blog to stay updated with these kinds of effective tips and tricks for your knowledge base, the different types of knowledge, and much more.

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Razthee MD. Yakini loves to write and read anything no matter the topic. He has a passion for becoming a content creator on WordPress. Razthee is a CSE graduate from United International University. His hobby is playing multiplayer games, reading horror sci-fi books, and watching gangster movies.

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