What is knowledge management?

The only thing that gets multiplied when shared in Knowledge. With industry growing tremendously, day by day, it has become indispensible to manage knowledge efficiently in order to generate more and more new ideas and preserve the existing ideas. Knowledge management is defined as the leveraging of collective wisdom to increase responsiveness and innovation [Cobos, 2002]. To put it clear, knowledge management is the process of gathering or collecting information, from various sources, storing them and manipulating them to bring in better ideas. Knowledge when efficiently managed will ultimately lead to innovation.

Types of Knowledge

Knowledge is basically of two types. They are

  1. Tacit Knowledge
  2. Explicit Knowledge
  1. Tacit Knowledge

Tacit knowledge is the knowledge that is in-built within a person.  It is the way that a person makes use to handle and solve problems. Examples of Tacit Knowledge are:

    • Thinking a solution
    • Problem solving skill
    • Mannerism
    • Working Style
    • Thoughts
    • Intelligence of an individual

These things are in-built with a person and can neither study nor understood by others easily. It is very difficult and in fact literally impossible to record or document tacit knowledge.

  1. Explicit Knowledge

On the other hand, explicit knowledge as the name suggests is very clear cut and straight forward. It is possible of study, define and document explicit knowledge. Some examples of explicit knowledge include

    • Theorems
    • Formulae
    • Predefined methodologies
    • Strategies and techniques
    • Systematic procedures

These things could be easily transmitted since they are systematic and discrete. They are common to all and are not specific to any individual.

Pan and Scarbrough (1999 p362) say that, “Tacit knowledge is not available as a text. It involves intangible factors embedded in personal beliefs, experiences, and values.”Blumentitt et al (1999) contend that information can be captured and stored in digital form whereas tacit knowledge repositories reside only in intelligent systems that are within individuals.  Platts and Yeung (2000) considers tacit knowledge as “knowledge-in-action” which presumes that this is knowledge that has not been articulated as opposed to explicit knowledge that is readily accessible within the organizational domain. Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) refer to tacit knowledge as knowledge that comprises experience and work knowledge that resides only with the individual. According to Polanyi (1966),”While tacit knowledge can be possessed by itself, explicit knowledge must rely on being tacitly understood and applied, hence all knowledge is either tacit or rooted in tacit knowledge. A wholly explicit knowledge is unthinkable”.


  • R. Cobos (2002). KnowCat, a Web Application for Knowledge Organization. Proceedings of the World-Wide Web and Conceptual Modeling, November, 2002
  •  Pan SL and Scarbrough H (1999). Knowledge Management in Practice: An Exploratory Case Study of Buckman Labs Technology Analysis and Strategic Management
  • Blumentitt R and Johnston R (1999). Towards a strategy for knowledge management Technology Analysis & Strategic Management 11, 287-300
  • Platts, M.J., Yeung, M.B (2000). Managing learning and tacit knowledge. Strategic Change (UK) 09 06 pp347-356
  • Nonaka  and Takeuchi M (1995). The Knowledge Creating Company – How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation Oxford: The Oxford University Press
  • Nonaka  and Takeuchi M (1995). The Knowledge Creating Company – How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation. Oxford: The Oxford University Press
Was this article helpful?