Tacit Knowledge Management Within Hospitality Establishments: Revealing the Body of the Iceberg

Tacit Knowledge Management Within Hospitality Establishments: Revealing the Body of the Iceberg

Spyros Avdimiotis (Technological Educational Institution of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/IJKM.2016070102
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Abstract

Tacit knowledge is a concept developed in connection with knowledge management research field. It is acknowledged as the cornerstone of competitive advantage; however, merely its possession does not guarantee an edge in fierce competition. Even though tacit knowledge holds a dominative role towards labor efficiency, productivity and innovation, the subject of tacit knowledge acquisition and transfer has been rather unexploited, mostly due to its intrinsic, highly personal and seamlessly bonded to holder's personality, attributes. The purpose of the article is to contribute to the exploitation of the embedded tacit knowledge of employees in hospitality establishments, a sector where the employment of tacit knowledge has to be extensive and foremost, capitalizing the maximum of personnel competences. Moreover, the paper correlates tacit knowledge acquisition and transfer, with behaviors stemming from a working environment where task assignment is adjusted to employees personal characteristics. Towards this goal, research hypotheses were built and tested, using SEM Methodology.
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2. Leterature Review And Hypotheses Development

Tacit knowledge widely, is considered to be the cornerstone of competitive advantage for a wide spectrum of organizations (e.g. Murray and Peyrefitte, 2007; BouLlusar and Segarra-Ciprés, 2006; Becerra-Fernandez & Sabherwal, 2001Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2004) deriving from personal experience and filtered through possessor’s personal characteristics. (O’Dell and Grayson 1998; Nonaka and Takeuchi 1996). Moreover, according to Hasher & Zacks, (1979), Dulani (1996) and Chilton & Bloodgood, (2008) tacit knowledge becomes a habit or a routine, frequently repeated and largely depended from intuition, feelings, insights and personal attributes. In line with this, tacit knowledge has a highly personal nature, is subjective, thus difficult to formalize, manage, process, acquire, reutilize and transfer.

Researchers such as Van der Spek & Spijkervert, (2007), Marquard (2006), Davenport and Prusak, (1998) Collins (1993), Hahn and Subramani (2000), Accenture (2000), Nonaka and Takeuchi (1996) Szulanski (2006), seem to agree on the basis that tacit knowledge is mainly subconscious and expressed, by “doing things” -individually or as a group-. Such behaviors as means of tacit knowledge acquisition and transfer could be the subject of observation, a story to remember, tell and discuss among the members of the personnel. In other words, tacit knowledge transfer success depends on the levels and ease of informal communication and relationship between the source and recipient.

Based on the preferences and value of tacit knowledge (Murray and Hanlon 2010), the initial scientific question was raised, focusing on “whether tacit knowledge can be successfully distributed among hotel employees and to what extent”. To answer this question, the researcher focused on behaviors, which according to Nonaka and Takeuchi (1996) is a valuable resource of tacit knowledge. In fact the researcher addresses the ability of any organization’s leadership to stimulate behaviors that could facilitate effective tacit knowledge management. Associating management styles and behaviors, Wagner and Hollenbeck (2005) and George and Jones (2011), support the argument that each management style falls into a particular set of workflow rules that exploit employee personal qualities, determining organizational behavior and task performing methods (see Figure 1).

Figure 1.

The cowheel of rules, personnel characteristics, and behavior

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