Social Network Structures for Explicit, Tacit and Potential Knowledge

Social Network Structures for Explicit, Tacit and Potential Knowledge

Anssi Smedlund (Helsinki University of Technology, Finland and Tokyo Insititute of Technology, Japan)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/jkm.2009010106
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The purpose of this conceptual article is to develop argumentation of the knowledge assets of a firm as consisting of three constructs, to extend the conventional explicit, tacit dichotomy by including potential knowledge. The article highlights the role of knowledge, which has so far not been utilized in value creation. The underlying assumption in the article is that knowledge assets can be thought of as embedded in the relationships between individuals in the firm, rather than possessed by single actors. The concept of potential knowledge is explained with selected social network and knowledge management literature. The findings suggest that the ideal social network structure for explicit knowledge is centralized, for tacit knowledge it is distributed, and for potential knowledge decentralized. Practically, the article provides a framework for understanding the connection between knowledge assets and social network structures, thus helping managers of firms in designing suitable social network structures for different types of knowledge.

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