Tacit Knowledge in Nuclear Power Plants: Content, Characteristics and Sharing

Tanja Kuronen-Mattila

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

Abstract

As the amount of information based work is increasing, organizations become more dependent on knowledge. This makes knowledge management efforts more challenging in all industries, particularly in high reliability organizations (HROs), in which loss of important knowledge may lead to severe consequences. This study aimed at understanding and describing tacit knowledge in the nuclear power plant context. Therefore, the content and characteristics of tacit knowledge were investigated in three different nuclear power plant functions. In addition, the prerequisites for sharing tacit knowledge in nuclear power plant context were studied. The methodology of this study is qualitative. The research questions were approached empirically with theme interviews in a case study design. All together 39 theme interviews were conducted in three cases. The data was analyzed with qualitative content analysis. The findings suggest that tacit nuclear knowledge can be described with two dimensions: technical and contextual. The specific content of tacit nuclear knowledge varies between tasks. However, similarities in tacit knowledge across organizational functions can be found especially in the area of safety procedures. Results also indicated that there are three types of prerequisites for sharing tacit nuclear knowledge: situational, organizational and social. The organizational factors precede the situational and social factors: if an organization fails to provide resources and conditions for knowledge sharing the situational and social factors lose their relevance. This study proposed that the focus of tacit knowledge sharing in organizations should move towards preservation of tacit knowledge as a collaborative organizational challenge.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPROCEEDINGS OF THE 7TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON INTELLECTUAL CAPITAL, KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT AND ORGANISATIONAL LEARNING
EditorsE Tsui
PublisherAcademic Conferences Ltd.
Pages605-612
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2010
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Conference on Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management and Organisational Learning - Hong Kong, China
Duration: 11 Nov 201012 Nov 2010
Conference number: 7

Conference

ConferenceInternational Conference on Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management and Organisational Learning
Abbreviated titleICICKM
CountryChina
CityHong Kong
Period11/11/201012/11/2010

Keywords

  • tacit knowledge
  • knowledge sharing
  • high reliability organization
  • nuclear power plant
  • conceptual model
  • ORGANIZATIONAL KNOWLEDGE
  • MANAGEMENT

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