Tacit knowledge comes in two distinct types

[German title: Sitilles (verborgenes) Wissen besteht aus zwei unterschiedlichen Arten]

Harry Collins
Bicycling on the Moon: Collective Tacit Knowledge and Somatic-limit Tacit Knowledge
Organization Studies, Vol. 28, No. 2, 257-262 (2007)
DOI: 10.1177/0170840606073759

Abstract: The idea of tacit knowledge plays an important role in many areas of academic debate, not least automation and its role in management. Here it is shown that tacit knowledge comes in two distinct types, with different causes and consequences. The first kind, ‘somatic-limit tacit knowledge’, has to do with the limitations of the human body and brain and has no consequences for encoding knowledge into machines. The second kind, ‘collective tacit knowledge’, is more ‘ontological’ than biological, having to do with its location in the social collectivity. Here the human body and brain’s unique capacity gives it special access to the tacit knowledge; known and foreseeable machines do not have this capacity.

Key Words: tacit knowledge • embodiment • social collectivity

Read the article online.

© 2007 SAGE Publications

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