This paper addresses the difficulty in codifying the tacit knowledge which represents the more important aspect in the intellectual capital of any company.
First of all, we will describe what tacit knowledge is. Tacit knowledge is a term that was introduced by Michael Poloni. He defined it as intuitive knowledge, cannot be articulated (Polanyi, 1966). It is specific to a context related to personal values and actions. Then, tacit knowledge is difficult to communicate or formalize. Nonaka & Takeuchi (1995) also introduced the concept of tacit knowledge into knowledge management and still a good reference to this concept. Nonaka & Takeuchi (1995) describe tacit knowledge as a knowledge that is non-linguistic and it is highly personal and context specific. More than that, they categorize it as technical tacit knowledge and cognitive tacit knowledge.
Due to the growth of the infrastructure and technology which makes knowledge easily transferable and shared, companies put much weight on making the tacit knowledge elicit and gradually the belief of replacing tacit knowledge into digitized knowledge takes place. However, this process can lead to counter productivity of the firms because not all the pieces of knowledge are in fact potentially codifiable.
The purpose of knowledge codification is presenting knowledge in a form that can be reused and transferred either by individuals or organisations. In this context, it is a mistake to consider the codified knowledge only as competitive advantage in the firm because the main difficulty is tacitness, that is extremely sensitive to social and moral context and cannot be a part of the elicit knowledge.
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