Knowledge Management

The three types of knowledge: explicit, implicit, and tacit

May 24, 2022
3 min

When beginning your Knowledge Management strategy, it is important to understand the 3 types of knowledge that are used in everyday work. In this article, we will be reviewing explicit, implicit, and tacit knowledge.

Benefits of Knowledge Management

Organizations need Knowledge Management systems to share, innovate, reuse, collaborate, and learn information. Knowledge Management systems improve decision-making processes, increase customer satisfaction, promote innovation, and speed up access to institutional knowledge.

In addition, a workplace needs to avoid redundant efforts, while accelerating customer delivery and stimulating growth. Companies that don’t use the benefits of Knowledge Management fall victim to high turnover and productivity costs. The bigger a company gets the more crucial Knowledge Management becomes. By understanding the three types of knowledge we can articulate our Knowledge Management systems. Let’s dive into it.

Explicit Knowledge

This is considered more as black and white knowledge, meaning it can be verified as true or false. For instance, there are 26 letters in the alphabet which represent a true statement. When looking at physics, there are true fundamental equations we follow with the technology we use today. The fundamental laws of physics can’t be changed or technology such as aerodynamics wouldn’t work.

Explicit knowledge can be accurately relayed through symbols, numbers, and words; however, a novice may need assistance and context to fully understand the implications of the knowledge. A person may misunderstand the knowledge if they do not have the appropriate experiences or prior knowledge.

Implicit Knowledge

This is the type of knowledge that can be acquired quickly through personal experience or from another person. Although it can be written down similar to explicit knowledge, it’s usually remembered without practice or repetition. It can be defined as the practical application of explicit knowledge.

For example, giving directions to the closest grocery store would be considered implicit. Or what software to use depending on your skills to edit a video. Implicit can be remembered to repeat in practice. These are skills that can be transferable from job to job.

Tacit Knowledge

This is the knowledge that is acquired through practice and experience. It cannot be realized through data or symbols alone. A person develops tacit knowledge when learning how to tie a shoelace, ride a bike, type on a computer, or even play a musical instrument. These are skills that need to be learned naturally through reputation or practice.

This type of knowledge in the workplace, such as leadership skills, can’t be written down or memorized. Instead, it is learned through our experiences and eventually becomes second nature to each individual.

One key category crucial for the workplace is developing emotional intelligence. Being able to communicate where you can emphasize, listen, and be respected takes experience. But when you hone yourself to acknowledge the importance, it can become second nature.

Practice and personal experience are how you can excel in this knowledge and have you thrive in the workplace. Although this category of knowledge can be considered abstract, it’s just as important as the other two types of knowledge.

Logictry’s Knowledge Management Maps (Logic Maps)

Knowledge Management allows organizations to hone these 3 types of knowledge to support employee onboarding and proficiency. Logictry has found a way to create decision trees that support both implicit and explicit knowledge to be searchable and actionable. Logictry goes even further to support tacit knowledge by the creation of assessment tools and education libraries.

Logictry’s Logic Maps use a markup syntax that organizes logical conclusions that can be predicted from previous statements. Therefore this declarative syntax can lead employees to the correct answers to do their job. Some notable use cases from past clients include:

  • Smart FAQs: a customer-facing logic map that works as an interactive FAQ to select answers they need regarding a product or service.
  • Assessments: maps each employee's skill sets and knowledge needed to connect individuals with the answers they need.
  • Chatbots: any logic map can be instantly turned into a chatbot for both customer or employee-facing support.
  • Playbooks: maps out an employee's guidebook to allow selective searches and actions to take.
  • Search Tools: a “smart” directory that allows the uploading of all documentation within a Logic map for employee access.
  • Configurators: this allows for a seller to take a question from a customer and guide them through the responses from the configurator.

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