Organizations often have shared understandings about the world that may be described as tacit knowledge. While not readily communicable, tacit knowledge may be leveraged for competitive advantage. Specifically, the transfer of knowledge throughout an organization through the use of IT offers an opportunity for organizations to leverage their knowledge assets more completely. More rapid dissemination of knowledge hastens the organizational learning by enabling new behaviors to evolve and existing behaviors to become routinized where appropriate. However, this advantage stemming from the application of IT poses potential danger to unsuspecting or careless organizations. Taking knowledge that possesses a tacit character and explicating it tends to reduce the inimitability of that knowledge, and therefore makes it more prone to copying by competitors. Faster imitation by competitors results in more rapid erosion of competitive advantages stemming from that knowledge. We investigate means by which information technology may be used for socialization efforts in an organization. Previous research suggests that tacit knowledge transmitted by socialization may be somewhat more easily protected than explicit knowledge transmitted by externalization.
Bloodgood, James and Salisbury, David, "What You Don't Know You Know Can Hurt You: Considerations in Using IT to Transmit Tacit Knowledge in Organizations" (1998). AMCIS 1998 Proceedings. 18.