“Shaken, Not Stirred”: Knowledge Transfer in the Hospitality Industry

“Shaken, Not Stirred”: Knowledge Transfer in the Hospitality Industry

Bernardete Dias Sequeira (University of Algarve, Portugal), João Filipe Marques (University of Algarve, Portugal) and António Serrano (University of Évora, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5849-1.ch002

Abstract

The tourism and hospitality industry depends heavily on the ways its workers use their knowledge in order to provide the best possible experiences to clients. Hence, it is of paramount importance for all tourism organizations, particularly hospitality ones, to have a knowledge management approach that allows them to retain their best workers and therefore keep their clients satisfied. The main objectives of the research presented in this chapter were to analyze how hospitality organizations have been managing their organizational knowledge—namely, how they stimulate knowledge transfer between individuals and groups within the hotels—as well as to identify the best practices and new solutions given the challenges presented by the knowledge society. This chapter presents some of the results concerning knowledge transfer of a larger empirical study on knowledge management in the hospitality industry based on three case studies in three different hotel groups operating in the Algarve, Portugal.
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Organizational Knowledge: Conceptual Specifications

One of the most important contributions to the clarification of the concept of “organizational knowledge” was Nonaka and Takeuchi’s book The knowledge creating company: how Japanese companies create the dynamics of innovation (1995). In this book, the authors, largely inspired by Michael Polanyi’s text The tacit dimension (1966), recognize unequivocally the distinction between “tacit” and “explicit” knowledge. According to the perspective initially developed by Polanyi, people can only acquire new knowledge when they face concrete situations that provide them with new experiences. Those experiences are internalized, recurring to concepts the individuals already knew. When facing new experiences, people adapt previously known concepts and reinterpret their language. That is why all knowledge is based on a tacit element (Polanyi, 1966).

Tacit knowledge is deeply rooted in human action and the involvement of individuals in practical contexts. It consists in a personal knowledge that is hardly transferable through verbal language. People know more than they can transmit, not because of a lack of ideas or verbal competences but because often their knowledge goes beyond language possibilities (Spender, 2001). Explicit knowledge, in turn, is an organized set of information, transmitted in a clear language, which can include numbers and diagrams (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1997). Each of these types of knowledge represents the two faces of the same coin; depending on each other, they mutually reinforce each other.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Explicit Knowledge: An organized set of information that is easily identified, seized, and shared. It may be written or taped. It can be stored in books, libraries, patents, databases, reports, procedure manuals, regulations, etc.

Tacit Knowledge: Deeply rooted in human action and the involvement of individuals in practical contexts. It consists in a personal knowledge that is hardly transferable through verbal language.

Knowledge Transfer: Consists of the process of recovering and assessing the collective memory of the organization and involves the accessibility to repositories and the knowledge sharing between workers.

Knowledge Absorptive Capacity: The ability of a company to assimilate and advantageously apply knowledge from outside sources.

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