Difference between tacit and explicit knowledge

September 24, 2012

Tacit knowledge is the knowing of things without knowing how you know; explicit knowledge is the knowing of things that you can explain. For example, most people can speak grammatically without being able to explain the rules of grammar. This is Tacit knowledge.
Tacit Knowledge is the knowledge your [co-worker or neighbor or associate] knows, but isn’t codified or written down; while Explicit Knowledge deals with knowledge that is written down and structured. For example, your co-worker knows how to fix Word when it chokes on an important document; but she is the only one. This is the Tacit Knowledge that Project Management tries to root out and codify. Once that knowledge is written down and saved somewhere it becomes explicit.
via What are the difference between tacit and explicit knowledge. at Wiki.Answers


Tacit/Implicit Knowledge

September 24, 2012

Although the expression “tacit knowledge” appears to have been introduced by Michael Polanyi (1958/1974), the idea that certain cognitive processes and/or behaviors are undergirded by operations inaccessible to consciousness — by a cognitive unconscious, as Reber (1995) calls it — goes back at least as far as Helmholtz’s work in the 19th century (Reber 1995, p. 15). A more recent and influential formulation of this basic idea can be found in Lashley (1956).

Varieties of Tacit Knowledge

The distinction between tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge has sometimes been expressed in terms of knowing-how and knowing-that, respectively (Ryle 1949/1984, pp. 25-61), or in terms of a corresponding distinction between embodied knowledge and theoretical knowledge. On this account knowing-how or embodied knowledge is characteristic of the expert, who acts, makes judgments, and so forth without explicitly reflecting on the principles or rules involved. The expert works without having a theory of his or her work; he or she just performs skillfully without deliberation or focused attention. Knowing-that, by contrast, involves consciously accessible knowledge that can be articulated and is characteristic of the person learning a skill through explicit instruction, recitation of rules, attention to his or her movements, etc. While such declarative knowledge may be needed for the acquisition of skills, the argument goes, it no longer becomes necessary for the practice of those skills once the novice becomes an expert in exercising them, and indeed it does seem to be the case that, as Polanyi argued, when we acquire a skill, we acquire a corresponding understanding that defies articulation (Polanyi 1958/1974).

But the distinction between knowing-how and knowing-that breaks down upon examination. As Dretske has pointed out (Dretske 1988, p. 116), knowing-how involves more than just a certain technical or physical “know-how”; it also involves knowing how to obtain desired end-states, knowing what to do in order to obtain them, and knowing when to do it.

via Dictionary of Philosophy of Mind – tacit knowledge.

Crowd’s Wisdom, CrowdSourcing, and Participation

January 26, 2010

“The outer limits to the crowd’s wisdom” — Federal Computer Week In the policy world, public participation requires different rules than crowdsourcing allows:

Public participation is the process of involving people in collaborative problem-solving and decision-making. Also known as public engagement or stakeholder involvement, the idea has been around for several decades, and during that time, a rich body of knowledge has emerged that makes it possible to give people a seat at the table when it comes to addressing challenging issues at all levels of government.

Crowdsourcing, the concept of applying open-source principles to fields outside software, is a fairly new phenomenon that was popularized only recently. Jeff Howe coined the term in his article “The Rise of Crowdsourcing” in the June 2006 issue of Wired magazine.

The question getting lots of attention in the Government 2.0 space today is: How might crowdsourcing be applied to public participation and government policy-making?

see also Tim Bonnemann’s posts at Intellitics.com

“33 Strategies Of War Author Robert Greene on Obama’s Tactical Hell” by Lee Stranahan at HuffingtonPost

Three months of watching the Democrats compromise, capitulate and now teeter at the edge of completely losing the battle for health care reform has been a slow-motion hell of watching a bloody bullfight when you’re rooting for the bull. And it’s been a uniquely Democratic style of losing.

Exactly how and why do the Democrats end up in these ghoulish scenarios? For the answer to that, I spoke with best-selling author Robert Greene who has written books like The 48 Laws of Power in the recent The 50th Law with hip-hop artist and entrepreneur 50 Cent. Greene also wrote The 33 Strategies of War which looked at and enumerated timeless truths about battle and conflict.

“Open Government Directive, Phase III: Drafting” at Office of Science and Technology Policy

President Obama issued a Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government in which he called for recommendations on making the government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative.

From the start, the White House Open Government Initiative has approached the crafting of these recommendations in an open fashion. An initial Brainstorming phase in late May asked you to identify topics for the recommendations. In the Discussion phase in early June, you explored those topics in greater depth.

Today, we ask you to work together to draft recommendations that translate good ideas and lofty principles into specific actions that can be taken to achieve open government. This Drafting Phase invites you to collaborate on creating recommendations for open government policy using a web-based wiki tool.

The collaborative drafting process is hosted by MixedInk here

“Tories announce £1m competition for large-scale crowdsourcing platform” by William Heath at IdealGovernment.com; category Design: Co-creation, Foundation of Trust, Save Time and Money, What do we want?

Cripes. HM’s Loyal Opposition has announced — if elected — a £1m prize for an online platform for large-scale crowdsourcing.

This almost comes onto the radar of big IT suppliers. It’s massive for smart little NGOs; it would have funded about a decade of early MySociety work.

I got it in an email (extract below).

IAP2 has developed the “IAP2 Core Values for Public Participation”

for use in the development and implementation of public participation processes. These core values were developed over a two year period with broad international input to identify those aspects of public participation which cross national, cultural, and religious boundaries.

The purpose of these core values is to help make better decisions which reflect the interests and concerns of potentially affected people and entities.

Core Values for the Practice of Public Participation

  1. Public participation is based on the belief that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.
  2. Public participation includes the promise that the public’s contribution will influence the decision.
  3. Public participation promotes sustainable decisions by recognizing and communicating the needs and interests of all participants, including decision makers.
  4. Public participation seeks out and facilitates the involvement of those potentially affected by or interested in a decision.
  5. Public participation seeks input from participants in designing how they participate.
  6. Public participation provides participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way.
  7. Public participation communicates to participants how their input affected the decision.

How Anil Dash Applies the Lessons of Web 2.0 to Government“; Interview by Jeff Chu –

Big idea: To apply the lessons of Web 2.0 to government, through his new D.C.-based incubator, Expert Labs. “The great Web 2.0 businesses are really data engines built on info generated by purchasing, searching, posting, tweeting.” Dash’s goal is to exploit the massive amount of data that the government has and creates. Government “can be as great a platform as the iPhone.” But policy makers aren’t tapping citizens’ brainpower right now, so Expert Labs will help: “In our private lives, we’d call this crowdsourcing.” The incubator, launched with input from White House staff, is officially part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and funded by a MacArthur Foundation grant.

The 2009 Dialogue and Deliberation Practitioners Survey: What is the State of the Field?” –

This site provides information and resources regarding an online survey of dialogue and deliberation practitioners conducted by sociologists Caroline Lee and Francesca Polletta during September and October 2009. This survey was conducted for the purpose of academic research on the deliberation field by the researchers.

Collaboration: more than just “serial partial attention”

April 3, 2008

I often find myself feeling as though I’m engaged in witty repartee with a buncha crack-heads. The transience of thought, viewed with even a small dollop of irony, is quite astonishing. I mean, bizarrely, the depth of the triviliazation is staggering. Or it would be, to anyone forming a sober appreciation.

I’m slowly recreating “GroundPlane” at WordPress.com on its own self-hosted site. I found myself tossing this block of text back and forth, trying to find the peg hole it slips into. I haven’t, yet, but don’t want to lose it, so I’ll blog it here.

“On the same page” is the place to be. Anytime we really need to get something done or really need to settle a dispute or conflict it becomes painfully clear that, far from being mind-readers, we really do have problems with communications.

If the name of the game is manipulation and conquest then that’s something else, but if what we’re doing requires cooperation and collaboration then, if what we’re up to matters, we need to get a handle on communications. And good communications means not treating people as though they were machines; we cooperate with humans, we collaborate with partners … robots we just give orders.

The situations we encounter are likely to be complicated … it’s hard to make complicated things simple and easy. So GroundPlane provides methods, tools and techniques to capture and represent what matters to each of us as individuals along with what confronts us all as team-members.

–bentrem 05JUNE07

Habermas Just Blowing Hard?

December 28, 2007

Ping: “War Strategies … for Daily Life?” at VibeWise

/*preliminary draft; do no quote, please and thank-you

When I spend more time on this it will be shorter. heh */

Smart Mobs » Blog Archive » Habermas blows off question about the Internet and the Public Sphere – November 5th, 2007 by Howard Rheingold

“I think it’s important now to build new theories and not simply to rely on Habermas, who is signalling his ignorance of the meaning of the changes in the infosphere that have taken place in recent decades. He did his part in his time, but the ideal public sphere he described — a bourgeois public sphere dominated by broadcast media — should not be taken as the model for the formation of public opinion in 21st century democracies.”

What I’m going to write is that Habermas’ ideals are so far from being reali-ized that that their validlity and his perfunctory defense of them might seem without basis. My point is that even Web4.0 will fall short because real develop must be orthogonal to the “with this hammer I call AJAX I will hammer every nail” attitude that now dominates.

What has oriented me in these matters is having read (or, more precisely, being in the process of re-reading for the umpteenth time) Habermas’ “discourse ethics” in context of the operational considerations comprised by the OpenAccess project as set out by UBC/PKP’s Prof. John Willinksy.

A fancy toy is just a toy, for all its wonder. “And you shall know them by their uses”, we might say.

At the risk of seeming cynical or bitter or both: where (Oh, please! Do tell me where!) is there to be found the authentic discourse that Jurgen Habermas so skilfully depicted? I’m talking about operational criteria, not just aspirational-goodie-goodie bliss-ninnie light-and-love (by the pound, by the gram, whatevuh) … I mean authentic subjective narrative in discourse. (Two ways … sorry kidz, tweeting is almost 1/2 of that recipe.)

Here’s something I’d like to be corrected on: from both my studies of abhidharma and my practice as a Marxist I’ve bought into “activity conditions consciousness”. (Oh-wooops I left out cog-psych … “schema theory”, yes?) Endless hours of 1st person ejaculation (Think “soliloque” here … get your mind out’a gutter; make some room for the rest of us.) … equally endless hours of 1st person shooter … endlessly peregrinating constructs resulting in a tangle of conceptual fictions and fictional identities. (Nooo, not “personas” … I said identities and I meant identities.)

Discourse … not “discussion”, not “debate”, not just “exchange”. (I happen to love Edge. But to the vast majority of the human race it is effectively hermetic. “In effect” is the watchword of Pomo, please.)

It’s great fun to play fast and loose … sophistry (Think about it … “sophist-icated” … what I call the Marie Antoinette syndrome … like marketing: no need to produce and deliver bread if you can produce a clehvur joke about cake, ehh whot?) … to quip the old-school Zen, a painting of bread does not feed. (Ohhh sure sure, “Man does not live by bread alone”. Go without a coupla meals sometime!)

see also: TimBL on “net” and *shudder* “graph”

Earlier this evening (I took a break after writing the large part of the above; I put up a batch of my best bitter last week and tonight I’m enjoying some of it.) I thought back across my history with communications … a time before SBI (“Soviet-bloc illicits”) and ILS (Integrated Logistics Support) and troposcatter (uhhh … 10KW WiFi huh huh) and, and and … I mean my relationship to the phenomenon itself. I remember as a child gazing into the sky, extrapolating the sun’s movement, and wondering at how this time-piece was so similar and different from the one on the wall above the stove in the kitchen.

I believe it was thinking like that whot allowed me to grok LASER theory in grade 3. It was as though the molecules were communicating with one another, as though ducks scrambling to get into a row. So it was natural, only a few years later, to get into ham radio … watching the 20mtr beam swing towards its great-circle bearing to the distant antipodes … VK2RU, IIRC … Australia. And, in the late evening, knowing that the air around me was filled with uncountable conversations.


So it’s with a bit of a startle that I read, “Smart Mobs » Blog Archive » Treating my Facebook community as a public” … ehhh? To treat FaceBook or whatevuh as anything other than public? Isn’t that like putting up a sound-proof wall all around your house so neighbours won’t by mis-chance or mis-deed happen to hear a bit of your commonplace and mundane?

Schema … in large part, barriers against what’s previously been tagged #noise, filtering in what’s salient. But those processes result in valence. I take it as confirmed that most kidz today take as “true” what is pleasant and “untrue” or even “wicked” whatever gives rise to dis-comfort in any sense. Valence … why it matters … and that, dear reader, is for me the heart-essence of discourse. Not “data”, and more than “information”.

Eric Fromm wrote about how a parent who, upon hearing a devestating prognosis regarding a child, is ill who responds by asking about probabilities. It’s more than cost/benefit … and so it’s more than signal/noise (“SNR”, in my business).

But it’s late. And my best bitter, if not actually my best, is very very good.

Front of mind? I miss my old springer spaniel … “Duart’s Mr. Chips” … Chippie … won Canadian Kennel Champion in his first show, he did … and trained himself, he did too. Missing him matters to me … it shows me I still care about the beings in my past. And I daren’t lose that.

–bentrem 00:18 29DEC07

I’ll see your conundrum and raise you a paradox

December 16, 2007

Context: I yesterday post a near-rant in my MozDawg blog; “Silo by any other name would be as …

Give 1000 people 100 communications channels and everybody may have a whole lotta fun but, really, you aren’t goint to get anything done. That ain’t rocket science.

Blogspot (multiple blogs), WordPress (multiple blogs), LiveJournal (2 accounts), FaceBook, MySpace (also 2 accounts), LinkedIn, ITtoolbox, and of course Twitter … I’m registered at more but those are the systems I used most often. What I see is a cloud of activity, 95% of which is buzz … fun, perhaps, and entertaining, to some degree, but basically it’s mostly dissipation.

How many blog comments are some variation on “That’s really good?” and nothing more. I’m bothered by this chaos not because it’s meaningless (It’s chaotic, not random, i.e. it truly is “information rich” rather than being just noise.) but precisely because it’s straining to be meaningful. The success of sites like Digg shows how folk really want to contribute something even if it’s only a vote.

A lovely little post by Charles Arthur at The Guardian presents some very interesting data: “What is the 1% rule?” reads in part,

“It’s an emerging rule of thumb that suggests that if you get a group of 100 people online then one will create content, 10 will “interact” with it (commenting or offering improvements) and the other 89 will just view it.[In stats from WikiPedia] 50% of all Wikipedia article edits are done by 0.7% of users, and more than 70% of all articles have been written by just 1.8% of all users.

Bradley Horowitz of Yahoo [in “Creators, Synthesizers, and Consumers”] points out that [in Yahoo Groups] the discussion lists, “1% of the user population might start a group; 10% of the user population might participate actively”.

Arthur ends on what I think a key point: Not just “you shouldn’t expect too much online.” but more: “to echo Field of Dreams, if you build it, they will come. The trouble, as in real life, is finding the builders.”

Dynamically stable systems go through chaotic phases after having been perturbed beyond their limits. In my own words, when a system loses its ordering principle then it will come apart and the information it contains will become indecipherable.

Hundreds of millions of people active in tens of thousands of forums and mail lists and blogs … millions of hours of creative time … producing blinding clouds of data and information.

How to order all this without driving out the vitality that makes it valuable? *shrug* I talk about discourse. Maybe someone will actually hear.

My bottom line? If you bring a group of people together and sit them down in a clump, likely you’ll need something like a facilitator to get something going. As Robertson puts it:

“Left unmanaged, this will inevitably lead to the proliferation of hundreds or thousands of collaboration spaces each containing a small subset of corporate content. […] This fragmentation makes it hard to find information published by other areas.”

But take that same group and sit them down around a camp-fire and (Caveman TV rulz!) things seem to sort themselves out.

See also Wisdom of Crowds is Cowardice” at CentralDesktop; “Collaboration Tools – Are Information Silos a Problem?” and “Enterprise 2.0 Letting Hypertext out of its Box” at Traction Software; a think piece by Danah Boyd: “Choose Your Own Ethnography: In Search of (Un)Mediated Life“; “Social Media Meets the Corporation” at ConferenzaBlog; “Collaboration tools are anti knowledge sharing?” by James Robertson; “Putting Enterprise 2.0 In Perspective” by Mike Gotta; Ross Mayfield’s blog

An afterthought: perhaps the web’s churn would be more evident except for the fact that so much of the contents is actually in-formed along a single vector: sales and marketing. If you want to see how it’s running on the IT equivalent of flat tires, try to use it for problem solving!