Potentials for Externalizing and Measuring of Tacit Knowledge within Knowledge Nodes in the Context of Knowledge Networks

Potentials for Externalizing and Measuring of Tacit Knowledge within Knowledge Nodes in the Context of Knowledge Networks

Christian-Andreas Schumann (University of Applied Sciences Zwickau, Germany) and Claudia Tittmann (University of Applied Sciences Zwickau, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-790-4.ch005
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The currently developing knowledge society needs high quality knowledge bases with wide-spreading knowledge sources. Because of the complexity of knowledge, they organize in knowledge networks. In addition, the intellectual capital of organizational units influences more and more the market value of organizations and companies. Thus, it is a challenging question to look at how intellectual capital can be developed and measured from tacit knowledge, and which factors of trust, risk, and compliance influence this. This chapter will describe the approach of knowledge nodes, the small components of knowledge networks, and their processes and their influence onto the value of knowledge networks.
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Constellation of Knowledge, Knowledge Society, and Knowledge Networks

The relevance of knowledge is referred by a long list of publications about knowledge, knowledge transfer, knowledge sharing, knowledge networks, etc. Thus, the definition and importance of knowledge changed significantly. In some context, knowledge changes to innovation; it changes to intellectual capital (Mertins, Alwert and Heisig 2005). Knowledge belongs to the intangible assets.

The society and the further development of the society will be influenced more and more by knowledge (Gilbert 2005). Therefore, the society changed to a knowledge society which refers to economic, political and social changes which are taking place as societies move from industrial to the post-industrial age. In this context intellectual capital as intangible asset represses more and more the importance of the other assets like money or land (Jennewein 2005).

The paradox of the knowledge society is the opposite of knowledge and nescience (Jischa 2008: p.280). There is knowledge and the complexities of things are not known. In decision processes of politics and economics it is important to manage knowledge on one side and handle with nescience, too (Böschen, Schneider and Lerf 2004).

There are lots of knowledge islands which have to be connected and an effective knowledge transfer needs to be implemented (von Krogh, Back and Enkel 2007: p.2). Already Castells in (Castells 2000) described the change to a network society. These networks in broad and general context developed out of the demands of the society.

The knowledge society needs to cross-link knowledge of organizational units to knowledge networks. Thus, it is possible to reach higher knowledge potentials and create new knowledge out of this. The increase of knowledge will be influenced by knowledge sharing processes between the organizational units. One of the main problems is the role of tacit knowledge, the knowledge not structured and formalized, the knowledge expressed by peoples activities.

Perspectives onto Knowledge in International and Intercultural Context

Knowledge and knowledge transformations are influenced by the cultural, political and social dimension. Additionally, globalization effected higher complexity of the knowledge structures and the knowledge interfaces. Problems, e.g. the same knowledge may have a different meaning in different cultural context; have to be solved to make intercultural knowledge useable.

Culture has various dimensions. (Joynt and Warner 1996) define culture in a broader view with the dimensions human nature, relations to nature, activity orientation, human relationships, relations to time, and space orientation. In other views, e.g. in (Triandis 1995: p.43), culture is characterized as a pattern of shared beliefs, attitudes, norms, roles and values that are organized around a theme and that can be found in certain geographic regions during a particular historic period. This second view is the better base for deriving a system of parameters. It is fundamental for an attempt to describe culture and transfer it into an appraisable system.

Knowledge is categorized in different sub-ideas. One of this is to divide knowledge into explicit and tacit knowledge. The explicit knowledge is codified or codifiable. Thus, this knowledge can be saved and transferred or transformed into other contexts like different culture, other languages, or different social preconditions. But barriers for knowledge sharing, especially between different cultures have to be respected (Möller and Svahn 2004).

Otherwise, tacit knowledge, the knowledge consisting mainly of experiences, is really hard to catch; inside cultures as well as between cultures; individualism cultures as well as collectivism cultures. To analyze and understand this, the consideration of culture as a system is necessary.

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