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11 Examples of Tacit Knowledge

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Tacit knowledge is a type of information, understanding or ability that is difficult to articulate, communicate and transfer from one person to another. It is associated with skills that require lengthy experience and innate ability to master. The following are examples of areas that are typically considered tacit knowledge.

1. Music

The skill and ability required to master a musical instrument.

2. Strategy

Strategy tends to be difficult to automate or document with unbreakable rules.

3. Emotional Intelligence

Reading and using emotion to achieve results such as influence is a difficult to acquire skill that appears to come naturally to some people.

4. Problem Solving

Problem solving techniques can be documented and taught but a vast difference in speed and ability to solve complex problems exists between people that resists knowledge transfer.

5. Aesthetics

A sense of aesthetics tends to be a personal thing that is difficult to express with precision. Skills related to aesthetics such as art and design are typically considered tacit knowledge.

6. Architecture

Architecture is the design of structure and form. Its mastery is thought to be largely experience-based including factors such as culture and artistic sense. It's also associated with abilities such as spatial intelligence.

7. Intuition

Intuition is a type of thought process that produces analysis almost instantaneously. It is important to situations that require decisions and actions in a fast moving environment such as driving.

8. Sports

Physical abilities such as sports are a type of tacit knowledge that are difficult to codify.

9. Decision Making

Decision making has an art to it. It is widely accepted that years of experience in a particular area or domain tend to improve decisions.

10. Language

Language skills such as intonation and pronunciation are impossible to learn from a book. Full immersion is typically required to master a language.

11. Know-how

Know-how is a general term for business knowledge related to processes and practices. In many cases, know-how is remarkably difficult to transfer from one organization to another. For example, a process that is fully documented may work at one organization but not another. Such failures are commonly attributed to tacit knowledge that exists within the corporate culture and skilled employees of an organization.
Overview: Tacit Knowledge
Knowledge that is difficult to articular, communicate and acquire.
Propositional Knowledge
Empirical Knowledge
Related Concepts

Knowledge Management

This is the complete list of articles we have written about knowledge management.
A Posteriori
A Priori
Anti Information
Artificial Knowledge
Body Of Knowledge
Corporate Memory
Dispersed Knowledge
Document Control
Document Quality
Domain Knowledge
Information Asymmetry
Information Management
Information Pollution
Knowledge Analysis
Knowledge Audit
Knowledge Discovery
Knowledge Loss
Knowledge Measurement
Knowledge Processes
Knowledge Quality
Knowledge Risk
Knowledge Transfer
Knowledge Value
Knowledge Velocity
Knowledge Waste
Knowledge Work
Known Unknowns
Master Copy
Meta Knowledge
Outside Context Problem
Propositional Knowledge
Situated Knowledge
Tacit Knowledge
Unknown Unknown
More ...
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