Andrea Pozzali

Tacit knowledge and innovation

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Tacit Knowledge; Innovation; Codification; Background Knowledge.

The role of tacit knowledge in innovation processes is often emphasized in organization and management studies. Unfortunately, in many cases these studies are based on a narrow conception of tacit knowledge, essentially identified with forms of physical know-how. This in turn encourages the emergence of two basic misunderstandings: the belief that the relationship between tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge could be interpreted in dichotomous terms, and that it is somehow possible to «convert» forms of tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge through an expansion of our codification possibilities. More recent contributions to the study of tacit knowledge have sought to arrive at more precise and detailed classifications, that could also serve as a basis for the empirical analysis. In particular, the crucial role of forms of collective tacit knowledge, or background knowledge, has been recently underlined. These types of tacit knowledge, that until now have received less attention, are almost impossible to codify, as they are closely intertwined with institutional and social variables. Indeed, these are precisely the types of tacit knowledge that can play the most relevant role in explaining dynamics of scientific, technological and organizational innovation.

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