Sorting the Relationship of Tacit Knowledge to Story and Narrative Knowing

Sorting the Relationship of Tacit Knowledge to Story and Narrative Knowing

Jo A. Tyler (Pennsylvania State University, USA) and David M. Boje (New Mexico State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-176-6.ch006
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This chapter fits the theme, the interplay between creativity and control in organizations. Story is often claimed to be a way to elicit tacit knowledge from people and their organization. The authors would like to suggest that this is impossibility. To story something is to shape it intuitively and willfully. Story shapes events into experience and into memory. Without story experience is just reenactment. To reenact is to relive the events, to feel the pain, fear, and terror.
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The concepts of knowledge management, and knowledge-intensive work have been developing for quite some time. In both theory and the vernacular of practice, knowledge and the knowledge worker are claimed to be the most important asset of contemporary organizations (Stewart, 1997). Knowledge workers as said to possess tacit knowledge, which various knowledge methodologies and specialized knowledge workers such as the “integrators, librarians, synthesizers, reporters, and editors” (Prusak, 1998, p. 110) convert to explicit knowledge when they “extract knowledge from those who have it, put it in a structured form, and maintain it or refine it over time” (Prusak, 1998, p. 110). Critics suggest that such knowledge solutions are perfunctory and propagandist (Styhre & Sungren, 2005). Managerialist policies rely upon the manipulation of emotions and identity creation (Kärreman and Alvesson, 2004). Managerialism is the view from the top, from the perspective of the managers (owners & executives – or others with power to wield). It is a top-down logic, a one logic that becomes the logic of change. There is a major difference between official organizational rhetoric and common everyday practice (Höpfl 1995; Argyris and Schön, 1996; Knights and Willmott, 1999).

Knowledge-intensive companies, such as in high-tech environments, purport knowledge-workers to be highly valued members of an organization. At the same time, critics suggest that these same workers are being manipulated and even “engineered” to engage in such performativity that they burn-out, and are deprived of family life (Perlow, 2004). Managers interested in leveraging worker knowledge by transferring it are faced with “the challenge of detaching knowledge from some people and attaching it to others” (Seely-Brown, 2000, 123). The spirit of this sort of language establishes a fundamental tension where the worker must give up a part of herself, ostensibly for the greater good, and the manager necessarily “mines” the worker until the mine is exhausted, no longer useful. The worker in this way becomes a depreciating asset, unless she can simultaneously conjure a new vein of knowledge. Manager and worker conflict is often more obvious than in less knowledge-intensive settings (Roscigno & Hodson, 2004). So too may be conflicts between workers who are likely to be better rewarded for possessing knowledge that constitutes competitive advantage than they are for sharing it.

We propose to study a different paradox that marks knowledge work in knowledge-intensive companies. The purpose of the present work is to look at the quest for tacit knowledge in knowledge management. Storytelling is often said to be a way to elicit tacit knowledge from knowledge workers (Prusak, 1998; Gherardi & Nicolini, 2003; Bukowitz & Williams, 1999; von Krogh, Ichijo, and Nonaka, 2000) and to foster the internalizing of explicit knowledge, converting it to tacit knowledge (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Story: Defined as “an oral or written performance involving two or more people interpreting past or anticipated experience” (Boje, 1991a: 111).

Emergence: Defined as absolute novelty, spontaneity, and improvisation, without past/future.

BME: Defined as Beginning, Middle and End progressive sequencing of retrospective narrative, the five-senses wholeness with imposed coherency that is in vogue since Aristotle.

Narrative: Defined by Aristotle requiring “imitation of an action that is complete in itself, as a whole of some magnitude... Now a whole is that which has beginning, middle, and end” the definition of coherent narrative (Aristotle, 350 BCE: 1450b: 25, p. 233).

Antenarrative: Defined as “nonlinear, incoherent, collective, unplotted, and prenarrative speculation, a bet, a proper narrative can be constituted” (Boje, 2001: 1). Antenarratives morph as they travel, picking up and depositing context as they move.

Living Story Theory: Defined here as the emergence, trajectory, and morphing of living story from antenarrative-conception to the death of decomposition and forgetting to tell anymore (Boje, 2005e).

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Dariusz Jemielniak, Jerzy Kociatkiewicz
Dariusz Jemielniak, Jerzy Kociatkiewicz
Chapter 1
Davydd J. Greenwood
This chapter questions the clarity of the concepts of “knowledge society” and “knowledge-intensive organization”. In particular, the author asserts... Sample PDF
Are Research Universities Knowledge-Intensive Learning Organizations?
Chapter 2
Juha Kettunen
The aims of knowledge management are to create knowledge and stimulate innovation. Knowledge management allows the knowledge of an organization to... Sample PDF
Construction of Knowledge-Intensive organizations in Higher Education
Chapter 3
Jeff Gold, Richard Thorpe
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is usually conceived as a planned and formulated process for individual members of professional... Sample PDF
Collective CPD: Professional Learning in a Law Firm
Chapter 4
Paul Trott, Andreas Hoecht
The United States and European economies have witnessed an enormous increase in the amount of specialized business services, which now provide... Sample PDF
Innovation Risks of Outsourcing within Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS)
Chapter 5
Lars Steiner
A new knowledge management perspective and tool, ANT/AUTOPOIESIS, for analysis of knowledge management in knowledge-intensive organizations is... Sample PDF
Actor-Network Theory and Autopoiesis: A New Perspective on Knowledge Management
Chapter 6
Jo A. Tyler, David M. Boje
This chapter fits the theme, the interplay between creativity and control in organizations. Story is often claimed to be a way to elicit tacit... Sample PDF
Sorting the Relationship of Tacit Knowledge to Story and Narrative Knowing
Chapter 7
Louise Grisoni
The central discussion in this chapter is that poetry can be used to provide a bridge between tangible, rational and explicit knowledge and tacit or... Sample PDF
Exploring Organizational Learning and Knowledge Exchange through Poetry
Chapter 8
Ester Barinaga
“How do we define our project goal?” “How are we going to coordinate our independent national studies?” “Who is responsible for what?” “How are... Sample PDF
Vagueness: The Role of Language in the Organizing Process of Knowledge Intensive Work
Chapter 9
Stephen Sheard
In this chapter the author offers an argument towards the resurgence of a proto-alphabetic imagination in electronic and mobile communications. It... Sample PDF
Tyranny of the Eye? The Resurgence of the Proto-Alphabetic Sensibility in Contemporary Electronic Modes of Media (PC/Mobile Telephony); and its Significance for the Status of Knowledge
Chapter 10
Krzysztof Klincewicz
The chapter discusses the role of IT Research & Analysis firms in the diffusion of knowledge management. The research is based on content analysis... Sample PDF
Knowledge Management and IT Research and Analysis Firms: Agenda-Setters, Oracles and Judges
Chapter 11
Fatima Guadamillas-Gomez, Mario J. Donate-Manzanares
This chapter analyses the implementation of knowledge management strategies (KMS) in technologyintensive firms. Firstly, a review of KMS in the... Sample PDF
Knowledge Management Strategies Implementation in Innovation Intensive Firms
Chapter 12
Arla Juntunen
This chapter focuses on the development of the Knowledge Management (KM) platform, and, more generally, the knowledge- and resource based view (RBV)... Sample PDF
Developing a Corporate Knowledge Management Platform in a Multibusiness Company
Chapter 13
Jonathan D. Owens
Success in new product development (NPD) can be considered a general aim for any company wishing to survive in the 21st Century. It has been found... Sample PDF
Modeling the New Product Development Process: The Value of a Product Development Process Model Approach as a Means for Business Survival in the 21st Century
Chapter 14
Anders Örtenblad
The ambition of this chapter is to pay some attention to more obvious, as well as more subtle, methods for organizations to become independent of... Sample PDF
Achieving Organizational Independence of Employees' Knowledge Using Knowledge Management, Organizational Learning, and the Learning Organization
Chapter 15
Angelo Ditillo
Knowledge-intensive firms are composed of various communities, each characterized by specialized knowledge. These communities operate as critical... Sample PDF
Balancing Stability and Innovation in Knowledge-Intensive Firms: The Role of Management Control Mechanisms
Chapter 16
Aino Kianto, Jianzhong Hong
Nowadays knowledge and competencies are the key productive factors, and the organizational capability for continuous learning, development and... Sample PDF
The Knowledge-Based Approach to Organizational Measurement: Exploring the Future of Organizational Assessment
Chapter 17
Vidar Hepsø
In knowledge management literature, common information spaces (CIS) are believed to be instrumental in the development and sharing of knowledge.... Sample PDF
Common Information Spaces in Knowledge-Intensive Work: Representation and Negotiation of Meaning in Computer-Supported Collaboration Rooms
Chapter 18
Agnieszka Postula
This chapter presents and discusses two factors – creativity and control – which correspond to every organizational reality. IT specialists’... Sample PDF
Creativitiy and Control in IT Professionals' Communities
Chapter 19
Patrocinio Zaragoza-Saez, Enrique Claver-Cortes, Diego Quer-Ramon
Knowledge is one of the basic production factors owned by enterprises, and knowledge management is one of the main dynamic capabilities on which... Sample PDF
A Qualitative Study of Knowledge Management: The Multinational Firm Point of View
Chapter 20
Cliff Bowan, Pauline Gleadle
The chapter addresses a central dilemma from the viewpoint of dynamic capabilities and the resource based view of the firm: how to manage creativity... Sample PDF
Culture as a Dynamic Capability: The Case of 3M in the United Kingdom
Chapter 21
Maria E. Burke
The purpose of this chapter is to consider an original way of improving Knowledge Management relationships. This is done within the context of an... Sample PDF
Cultural Issues, Organizations and Information Fulfillment: An Exploration Towards Improved Knowledge Management Relationships
Chapter 22
Darius Mehri
The author worked in the research and design department at a large Toyota company in the late 1990s and experienced an innovative process where... Sample PDF
Engineering Design at a Toyota Company: Knowledge Management and the Innovative Process
Chapter 23
Federica Ricceri, James Guthrie
The shift towards a knowledge based economy is at the core of the debate of contemporary management and accounting literature and organisations are... Sample PDF
Critical Analysis of International Guidelines for the Management of Knowledge Resources
Chapter 24
Christiane Prange
Internationalization has accelerated the speed of knowledge generation and innovation. Thus, companies increasingly need to pool and create new... Sample PDF
Strategic Alliance Capability: Bridging the Individual Back into Inter-Organizational Collaboration
Chapter 25
Meryem Sevinc, Lawrence Locker, John D. Murray
In the contemporary context of knowledge discovery, the amount of information and the process itself has increased in complexity. Relevant to the... Sample PDF
Automation vs. Human Intervention: Is There any Room Left for the Analyst in the Data Mining Process?
Chapter 26
Joanna Shih
The hi-tech firms that predominate in Silicon Valley contain a large proportion of knowledge workers—employees with high levels of education and... Sample PDF
Temporality and Knowledge Work
Chapter 27
Alice MacGilivray
Knowledge management is often associated with the need for change and related shifts in ontologies, ways of knowing and ways of working. Combine the... Sample PDF
Knowledge Intensive Work in a Network of Counter-Terrorism Communities
Chapter 28
Tatiana Andreeva
Contemporary literature usually views knowledge creation and knowledge sharing as either independent or positively related processes. However, based... Sample PDF
Tensions between Knowledge Creation and Knowledge Sharing: Individual Preferences of Employees in Knowledge-Intensive Organizations
Chapter 29
Steffen Boehm, Chris Land
Knowledge is implicitly assumed to form an increasingly important, or even the dominant source of values for today’s knowledge based organizations.... Sample PDF
The 'Value' of Knowledge: Reappraising Labour in the Post-Industrial Economy
Chapter 30
Alexander Styhre
This chapter discusses the use of media in knowledge-intensive organizations. Media is defined here as the integration of technologies, practices... Sample PDF
New Media and Knowledge Work
Chapter 31
Ben Tran
This chapter examines knowledge and innovation as invaluable factors affecting the longevity of large organizations. It presents the history and... Sample PDF
Knowledge Management: The Construction of Knowledge in Organizations
Chapter 32
Premilla D’Cruz, Ernesto Noronha
Scholars researching the area of the sociology of professions had earlier predicted that as occupations seek to improve their public image... Sample PDF
Redefining Professional: The Case of India's Call Center Agents
Chapter 33
Dariusz Jemielniak, Jerzy Kociatkiewicz
Knowledge management and knowledge-intensive work are two of today’s hot buzzwords, though both already have a history of managerial usage. While... Sample PDF
Knowledge Management: Fad or Enduring Organizational Concept?
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