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Codification and tacitness as knowledge management strategies: an empirical exploration

Authors
Journal
The Journal of High Technology Management Research
1047-8310
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
12
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s1047-8310(00)00043-2
Keywords
  • Organizational Knowledge
  • Knowledge Management
  • Tacit Knowledge
  • Explicit Knowledge
  • Codification Strategy
  • Tacitness Strategy
  • Focused Knowledge Management Strategies
  • Knowledge Flows
  • Multinational Companies
  • Subunit Performance
  • Media Theory
  • Contingency Theory
  • Competitive Advantage
  • Immobile Knowledge
Disciplines
  • Law

Abstract

Abstract This paper develops four categories of knowledge management strategies used by multinational corporations (MNCs). Codification strategies involve the transformation of tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge in order to facilitate flows of organizational knowledge. Tacitness strategies keep organizational knowledge tacit in order to prevent flows of knowledge to competitors. Focused knowledge management strategies regulate knowledge flows by controlling the degree to which knowledge is encoded in forms that match the information intensity and ambiguity of their knowledge. Unfocused knowledge management strategies attempt to regulate knowledge flows by controlling the overall level of codification of knowledge without special consideration of the capabilities of specific forms of codification. Empirical analyses of the effects of these strategies on subunit performance in a sample of US and Danish subsidiaries suggest that the focused strategies are superior to the other strategies. Our results also indicate that different kinds of organizational knowledge require matching forms of codification in order to increase performance. The results give rise to a nested contingency model of knowledge management.

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