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Tacit knowledge: review and possible research directions

Krishna Venkitachalam (Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)
Peter Busch (Department of Computing, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 30 March 2012




Tacit knowledge is often difficult to define, given its inexpressible characteristics. Literature review highlights the impact of tacit knowledge on certain knowledge management topics and these include organizational learning, intellectual capital, knowledge management strategy and so forth, but some research gaps remain. The paper aims to propose directions for future research in this domain of discourse.


A review of existing studies highlights some gaps in the literature on the role of tacit knowledge, which is followed by questions for future research.


Given the richness of tacit knowledge discourse, the authors believe that the proposed questions offer avenues for scholars to explore and develop greater understanding of the role of tacit know‐how in certain knowledge management topics.

Research limitations/implications

The authors acknowledge that there are certain limitations to this paper, namely, focusing on the review of tacit knowledge and not on other forms of knowledge. The review presents the role of tacit knowledge and its use in the context of knowledge management related topics. Finally this study proposes only future research directions that are far from being exhaustive, rather than presenting field study results.


This paper reviews the existing literature on how tacit knowledge is perceived and used in certain knowledge management areas. Reviewing the current literature uncovers a number of gaps regarding the role of tacit knowledge.



Venkitachalam, K. and Busch, P. (2012), "Tacit knowledge: review and possible research directions", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 357-372.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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