"If you want to know how to do the job, you have to do it" : A Qualitative Study on Knowledge Sharing Among Technical Experts Focusing Communities of Practice and Tacit Knowledge

Published on Jan 1, 2014
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Abstract
This thesis discussed explicit and tacit knowledge that technical experts in a public authority need to carry out their work. The main focus was on knowledge sharing in communities of practice, and the distribution of so called tacit knowledge. An interview study with eight aviation experts was conducted in the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The agency had experienced problems with knowledge transfer. The study showed that both explicit and tacit knowledge were relevant. It revealed further that much explicit knowledge was not codified or was difficult to access. Tacit knowledge was not shared through externalisation. Following that, communities of practice played an important role in knowledge sharing. These communities were mainly managed by experienced experts who took decisions on contact groups and subjects to discuss. Newcomers were acting at the periphery, trying to find out what they needed to know. The vast amount of non-codified or tacit knowledge was perceived as problematic by newcomers who were missing written guidance.
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