Knowledge is considered a major asset for companies competing in today’s knowledge-based economy. Management and retention of this knowledge is a critical task in keeping companies ahead of the game. This article will focus on one component of knowledge management, that is, the creation of a successful knowledge transfer process by using an integrative literature review method (Torracco, 2005). An integrative literature review is a form of research where the pertinent literature on a topic was systematically reviewed, analyzed, and synthesized in hopes of reaching a new and better understanding of the topic. Multiple databases were used in gathering literature for this article. Common themes that serve as findings of the study were through the processes of independent analysis of each researcher and joint discussion of the two researchers of the study. In the following sections, background information and definitions concerning knowledge transfer are presented followed by the identified themes. Finally, pertinent discussions regarding trends of knowledge transfer are discussed.
Explicit And Tacit Knowledge
Tuomi (1999) points out that data consist of simple facts; information is data combined into meaningful structures, and knowledge is information put into context so it can be internalized. For this article, the term knowledge should be defined as the application and productive use of information (Roberts, 2000). Two specific types of knowledge are important to the knowledge transfer process: explicit and tacit knowledge. Explicit knowledge is data and information that are often codified and learned through established sources such as academia, books, and other forms of written or published media. Codification refers to taking knowledge and putting it into a coded (written or drawn) format that allows the knowledge to be easily shared by others. Codified knowledge and explicit knowledge are often used interchangeably. Explicit knowledge, once written, remains fairly stable and consistent throughout its lifecycle (Smith, 2001). This knowledge can be shared easily within a company and is often all-inclusive, needing little to no human interaction for better understanding.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Codification: Taking knowledge and putting it into a coded (written or drawn) format that allows the knowledge to be easily shared by others.
Explicit Knowledge: Data and information that are often codified and learned through established sources such as academia, books, and other forms of written or published media.
Knowledge Transfer: Knowledge transfer is the systematic process of sharing knowledge and learning from the experience of others.
Network: A network is created when two or more people are linked together by having, or questing for, similar knowledge. Knowledge is embedded in three basic elements within a network: members, tools, and tasks.
Trustworthiness: The level at which two people involved in knowledge sharing trust each other. This trust is based on competence and benevolence.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT): ICTs for knowledge transfer include long-term, codified, and reusable electronic storage options for data, information, and knowledge such as databases, Intranets, e-learning modules, or Web pages.
Tacit Knowledge: Ingrained knowledge gathered through experience and personal beliefs.
Workplace Culture: A culture built around the mission, vision, and the shared values, beliefs, and practices of the company and its workers.