The roles of tacit knowledge and knowledge management systems for writing academic papers: A research case

Jose Manuel Cardenas Medina, Mauro Spinola

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Inside the knowledge management arena, two forms of knowledge have been considered with the goal of choosing the ad hoc information system and align it with the available resources: explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge. In this sense, resources based on information technology have demonstrated a good alignment and have been a great tool for storing explicit knowledge and, in many cases, for recovering it. However, when it comes to storing, distributing or sharing tacit knowledge, the same information systems could offer significant limitations. This paper strives to present the characteristics of tacit knowledge, which may then be contained into information systems in order to seek an alignment with the technology and the way in which this knowledge could be understood at machine level; or, if it is possible, store it and then share it. The case research consists of an experience based on the observation of researchers seeking to write academic papers and their alignment with support information systems that they use. We conducted some interviews with researchers from different levels of experience in writing academic papers, all belonging to the production engineering faculty (alumni and practitioners). Thus, on a first exploratory round, it was discovered that the interviews could be divided into two types: a) radical paper, when the topic is just emerging, or when it was just an idea in the mind of the researcher and, b) incremental paper, when the article already had more than one version, or the contribution of more than one author. This small difference permitted us to observe the use and adequacy of knowledge management systems, and the role of experience, in order to write an academic paper. With that, preliminarily, it is possible to affirm that the tacit knowledge-gathered from the Knowledge Management arena-has differences from tacit information, which can be stored at the information systems level. Results indicate that within the process of formulation and adaptation with a specific knowledge management system, the tacit knowledge at the individual level complements the limitations of information technology for tacit information storage. However, when it tried storing the group tacit knowledge; tacit information could only be captured by the system manager and the mediums to retrieve such information are not interesting to researchers. In other words, it is necessary to create a repository of experience for each time when a new project starts to make sure everyone benefits from the generated content for the researchers in a group. Finally, it is possible to affirm that the choice of information technology tools intended to manage the resource "experience" will fit the user's needs once those tools have been explained and are clarified before starting the process of knowledge generation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 12th European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM 2011
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event12th European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM 2011 - Passau, Germany
Duration: 1 Sep 20112 Sep 2011

Publication series

NameProceedings of the European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM
ISSN (Print)2048-8963
ISSN (Electronic)2048-8971


Conference12th European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM 2011


  • Knowledge management system
  • Tacit information
  • Tacit knowledge


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