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Implicit Knowledge and Work Performance

  • Britta HerbigEmail author
  • Andreas Müller
Chapter
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)

Abstract

Implicit knowledge is quite a heterogeneous concept comprising different aspects and research areas, such as experiential knowledge, tacit knowledge or incidental learning paradigms. Starting with some examples for the phenomenon, the main concepts of this research with respect to professional practice are presented and an integrative definition of implicit knowledge is given. Subsequently, implicit knowledge as the base for individual professional performance is discussed. Its strengths, like being able to integrate large amounts of information, are weighted against pitfalls, like naïve but action-guiding theories. Against this background, a model for professional learning is proposed with recurrent cycles of knowledge explication, reflection, reintegration, and knowledge application. The next part focuses on group implicit knowledge and its relation to professional team performance. While building up a shared mental model of a task teams have to regulate their actions on the individual as well as on the team level. Thus, in work teams implicit knowledge has two facets: individual implicit knowledge that is difficult to assess for the regulation of a collective team task and individual explicit knowledge that is not communicated within the team. The latter might hinder coordination and regulation of team processes necessary for the successful accomplishment of complex tasks. The chapter concludes with organisational strategies for dealing with implicit knowledge and a caveat regarding implicit knowledge and its role in work performance especially in jobs with serious consequences and frequent critical incidents.

Keywords

Implicit knowledge Awareness Work performance Experience Explication Reflection Mental models Team work 

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental MedicineLudwig-Maximilians-UniversityMunichGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Occupational and Social MedicineHeinrich-Heine-UniversityDuesseldorfGermany

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