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Explicit Knowledge vs. Tacit Knowledge: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sara Rehman || Published on November 22, 2023
Explicit knowledge is clearly expressed and documented information, while tacit knowledge is personal, context-specific, and often unarticulated knowledge.

Key Differences

Explicit knowledge is easily communicated and stored, often found in documents and databases. Tacit knowledge, in contrast, is inherently personal and harder to formalize.
Sara Rehman
Nov 22, 2023
Explicit knowledge includes facts, instructions, and information that can be readily shared. Tacit knowledge is experiential, involving insights and intuitions that are difficult to express.
Sara Rehman
Nov 22, 2023
Organizations capture explicit knowledge through manuals and procedures, whereas tacit knowledge is embedded in individual experiences and seldom written down.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 22, 2023
Explicit knowledge is accessible to anyone and can be taught, whereas tacit knowledge is often acquired through personal experience and observation.
Sara Rehman
Nov 22, 2023
In explicit knowledge, the transfer is straightforward and systematic. Tacit knowledge transfer, however, often requires mentoring and social interactions.
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Clearly articulated and documented knowledge.
Knowledge that is personal and context-specific.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 22, 2023

Form

Structured and codified, often in writing.
Unstructured, intuitive, and hard to verbalize.
Sara Rehman
Nov 22, 2023

Transfer Method

Easily shared through documents and instructions.
Transferred through personal contact and experience.
Sara Rehman
Nov 22, 2023

Examples

Manuals, databases, books.
Skills, experiences, insights.
Janet White
Nov 22, 2023

Accessibility

Accessible to anyone with the right information.
Often resides within individuals, challenging to access.
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023
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Explicit Knowledge and Tacit Knowledge Definitions

Explicit Knowledge

Explicit knowledge is often found in documented procedures and facts.
Their database of customer queries contains explicit knowledge.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 15, 2023

Tacit Knowledge

Tacit knowledge is gained through personal experiences and observations.
A musician's skill in improvisation is a form of tacit knowledge.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Explicit Knowledge

Explicit knowledge is information that is readily articulated and recorded.
The company's employee handbook is a form of explicit knowledge.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Tacit Knowledge

It is often internalized and difficult to formalize or write down.
A craftsman’s expertise in woodwork is tacit knowledge.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Explicit Knowledge

Explicit knowledge includes codified information like guidelines and formulas.
Mathematical formulas in textbooks are examples of explicit knowledge.
Janet White
Nov 15, 2023

Tacit Knowledge

Tacit knowledge involves skills and know-how acquired over time.
A surgeon’s tacit knowledge is critical in making split-second decisions.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 15, 2023

Explicit Knowledge

It is knowledge that can be easily communicated and shared.
Instruction manuals are a common source of explicit knowledge.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

Tacit Knowledge

Tacit knowledge is personal, context-specific knowledge that is often unspoken.
A chef's tacit knowledge is evident in the way they season dishes.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 15, 2023

Explicit Knowledge

It is the type of knowledge that is accessible in written or digital form.
Online tutorials provide explicit knowledge about software use.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 15, 2023

Tacit Knowledge

It includes insights and intuitions not easily shared through language.
An experienced manager's tacit knowledge helps in team conflict resolution.
Sara Rehman
Nov 15, 2023

FAQs

Can explicit knowledge be easily taught?

Yes, explicit knowledge can be systematically taught and learned.
Sara Rehman
Nov 22, 2023

What is an example of explicit knowledge?

Company policies written in an employee handbook are explicit knowledge.
Sara Rehman
Nov 22, 2023

How is tacit knowledge acquired?

Tacit knowledge is acquired through personal experience and practice.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 22, 2023

How do organizations benefit from tacit knowledge?

Organizations benefit from tacit knowledge through improved skills and innovation.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

How can companies capture tacit knowledge?

Companies capture tacit knowledge through mentoring, storytelling, and observation.
Janet White
Nov 22, 2023

Is tacit knowledge valuable in leadership?

Yes, tacit knowledge is crucial for effective leadership and judgment.
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023

How do employees share explicit knowledge?

Employees share explicit knowledge through training, documents, and meetings.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Can tacit knowledge be documented?

Documenting tacit knowledge is difficult, but some aspects can be partially captured.
Sara Rehman
Nov 22, 2023

Is tacit knowledge easily transferable?

No, transferring tacit knowledge is often challenging and indirect.
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023

Where is explicit knowledge typically stored?

Explicit knowledge is stored in documents, databases, and manuals.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Can explicit knowledge become outdated?

Yes, explicit knowledge can become outdated and needs regular updating.
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023

Can explicit knowledge improve decision-making?

Yes, explicit knowledge provides a factual basis for informed decisions.
Sara Rehman
Nov 22, 2023

How does tacit knowledge impact creativity?

Tacit knowledge fosters creativity through intuitive and experiential insights.
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023

How do new employees gain tacit knowledge?

New employees gain tacit knowledge through experience, mentoring, and observation.
Sara Rehman
Nov 22, 2023

Is tacit knowledge always conscious?

No, some aspects of tacit knowledge are subconscious and intuitive.
Janet White
Nov 22, 2023

How does explicit knowledge support training?

Explicit knowledge provides a structured foundation for training programs.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Is on-the-job training a way to transfer tacit knowledge?

Yes, on-the-job training is a key method for transferring tacit knowledge.
Sara Rehman
Nov 22, 2023

Can technology store and disseminate explicit knowledge?

Yes, technology is effective in storing and disseminating explicit knowledge.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Why is tacit knowledge hard to replicate?

Tacit knowledge is personalized and context-specific, making it unique.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Are standard operating procedures explicit knowledge?

Yes, standard operating procedures are a form of explicit knowledge.
Sara Rehman
Nov 22, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sara Rehman
Sara Rehman is a seasoned writer and editor with extensive experience at Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Information Technology, she combines her academic prowess with her passion for writing to deliver insightful and well-researched content.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

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