Mechanisms of tacit knowing: Pattern recognition and synthesis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose - The paper sets out to integrate what is known about the concept of tacit knowledge and proposes a pattern recognition and synthesis (PRS) framework as an explanation of how tacit knowledge is created. Design/methodology/approach - In this conceptual piece it is argued that knowledge is monistic and that the dichotic distinction between tacit and explicit is an artifact of analytic treatment. The PRS framework models the development of personal knowledge via the process of tacit knowing within the individual, who is within an organizational setting. Findings - The PRS model complements extant models of organizational learning by providing possible mechanisms for tacit knowing that have not yet been elucidated. Specifically, as a perception-based model its main conclusion is that all tacit knowledge must be built up within individuals, which has major implications for the time and energy invested in knowledge creation activities. Research limitations/implications - Future research can test the propositions given. Practical implications - The conclusions of the paper suggest that tacit knowledge creation depends on practice by the knower. Ironically, this also suggests a method for how tacit knowledge can be developed even in virtual projects that involve information and communications technologies (ICTs) without face-to-face interaction. Originality/value - The paper argues for a focus in knowledge management on the individual and leads to new insights about how best to manage tacit knowledge creation. Researchers looking at the concept of tacit knowledge and managers who want to understand the limitations and constraints on tacit knowledge development will find the paper's conclusions helpful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-139
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Knowledge Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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