Tacit knowledge sharing: the determination of a methodological approach to explore the intangible.
1. TACIT KNOWLEDGE
the determination of a methodological approach to explore the intangible.
Iris Buunk - PhD Student
Centre for Social Informatics - School of Computing ● Institute for Informatics and Digital Innovation
Edinburgh Napier University
Buunk, I., Hall, H., Smith, C. F.
3. IT’S ALL ABOUT METHODS
OF THIS PAPER:
a pragmatic methodology for a
doctoral study in the domain of
knowledge management and tacit
4. SCOPE OF THE RESEARCH
How social media facilitate tacit knowledge sharing practices
between employees within organisations belonging to the public sector.
END OF THE STUDY
& empirical work.
6. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
How do social media facilitate the sharing of tacit
knowledge between employees?
To what extent do social media bring new capabilities
in the sharing of tacit knowledge?
Which situated factors may provide the appropriate
context for using social media to enhance tacit
knowledge sharing practices?
7. Which method is the most
suitable to study the
intangible nature of tacit
IDENTIFICATION + ANALYSIS
to define the most appropriate approaches for an empirical study of
tacit knowledge sharing.
IN KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
RESEARCH METHODS IN SOCIAL SCIENCE
There has been
a need for robust methodological approaches
to study tacit knowledge sharing for some time.
Methodological approaches initially intended to study
explicit knowledge applied to investigate tacit
10. OPTIONS FOR EXPLORING THE INTANGIBLE
EXPLICIT knowledge is more easily observed
than TACIT knowledge.
It is also quantifiable, and therefore
the NATURE OF
11. THE POSITIVIST APPROACH
Adoption of quantitative methods - particularly in
attempts to model tacit knowledge sharing.
Based around large-scale surveys, some of which
make extensive use of the Likert scale.
(e.g. Borges, 2013; Lin, 2007; Tsai 2014)
12. THE POSITIVIST APPROACH: CRITICISMS
Methods designed to study explicit knowledge tend to
multidimensional nature of tacit knowledge
knowledge is socially constructed
on assets generated from tacit knowledge
requirements of research validity might not be met.
14. THE QUALITATIVE APPROACH
KM researchers who take an interpretivist stance assert that
knowledge cannot be studied objectively.
They deploy qualitative techniques such as interviews, focus
groups and surveys, in case study settings.
These studies usually do not generate models, but instead
provide nuanced understandings of particular aspects of
(e.g. Murray & Peyrefitte, 2007; Neve, 2003; Whyte & Classen, 2012)
16. THE QUALITATIVE APPROACH: COUNTER-ARGUMENT
‘The power of good example'
As the theorist Flyvberg (2001) states :
Deep analysis through the generation of a single case study is
valuable because it can contribute to the 'collective process of
THIS HOLDS THE POTENTIAL TO
BROADEN THE UNDERSTANDING OF A PHENOMENON
18. MIXED METHOD: CRITICISMS
Lack of compatibility
different ontological roots of qualitative and quantitative methods
Researchers sometimes assume a guarantee of
robustness through triangulation.
(Hidden hope to be recognised as ‘scientific’ in front of an external audience.)
19. THE COMPROMISE OF
A PRAGMATIC APPROACH
Credits: Park Güell. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Spain.Catalonia.Barcelona.Vista.Sagrada.Familia.jpg
20. THE COMPROMISE OF A PRAGMATIC APPROACH
FULL-TIME DOCTORAL STUDENTS:
the time limit imposed on the period of study
THE SELECTED POPULATION
(in this case, employees in public sector organisations
using a shared online platform)
IN AN APPROPRIATE CONTEXT
(the organisation itself)
21. A PRAGMATIC APPROACH
• Dominant practice in KM research
• Interpretivist perspective
• Reflects philosophical stance of knowledge
• Contextualisation of respondents profiles
• For triangulation purposes
22. A PRAGMATIC APPROACH
RESEARCH SITE: CASE STUDY
• Dominant practice in KM research
• Depth of analysis in specific community
DATA COLLECTION: 4 ACTIVITIES
1. Cross-organisational online survey (completed)
2. Semi-structured interviews (November 2016)
3. Focus groups (?)
4. Content analysis of documentation (?)