Periodicity.: January - March 2015
e-ISSN......: 2236-269X
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Formalisation versus tacitness: keys for creating and sharing knowledge in innovative large organisations

Maria José Sousa, Miguel González-Loureiro


In the situated learning theory, we disclose the existence of some tensions that may arise from two opposite forces within a context of communities of practice: the need for formalisation (large enterprises) and tacitness (creativity and innovation). Our study focuses on how these tensions are dealt with in a case study of a Portuguese innovative large enterprise that has developed a knowledge strategy over the last decade.

The keys for overcoming this risky confrontation are related to a combination of “knowledge vision” and the coordinator and culture roles. A question to be addressed by firms in similar situation is “who-knows-what”, in order to identify the key knowledge that must be transformed from tacit into explicit. This would avoid wasting too many resources on making explicit the wrong tacit knowledge. Further research is required in other firms and contexts, on a still underestimated problem within communities of practice


Formalisation; tacitness; knowledge sharing; knowledge creation; action research; innovation process; case study

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