If Nelson and Winter are only half right about tacit knowledge, which half? A Searlean critique of 'codification'

Nightingale, Paul (2003) If Nelson and Winter are only half right about tacit knowledge, which half? A Searlean critique of 'codification'. Industrial and Corporate Change, 12 (2). pp. 149-183. ISSN 0960-6491

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Abstract

The paper explores the inherent tensions in the relationships between different theories of knowledge. The paper shows how Polanyi's rather nebulous concept of tacit knowledge can be given a rigorous foundation in recent biological treatments that link neurological causal processes, subjective mental states and speech acts. Drawing on the work of John Searle, the paper shows how information-processing approaches relate to these cause and effect relationships in order to critique the binary distinction between tacit and codified knowledge. The utility of the framework and the problems with this binary distinction are illustrated by showing the confusions behind recent theories that propose that information technologies allow the codification of tacit knowledge. Errors inherent in the idea of codification are traced back to Newell and Simon's abstract programme level of explanation. Implications for science policy, technical learning, management and innovation are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This analytical study probes what the author refers to as the usually overlooked `dark matter of tacit knowledge, on the road to which he criticises most experts in the field, including his mentor Searle. The paper gives practical ways of tackling rather than avoiding the issue of tacit knowledge.
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Depositing User: Paul Nightingale
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:20
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2012 21:54
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/25536
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