The knowledge system of a firm: social capital for explicit, tacit and potential knowledge

Anssi Smedlund
2008 Journal of Knowledge Management  
Purpose -The purpose of this paper is to bring clarity to the concept of social capital in the value creation in firms from the knowledge management perspective. To discuss the social characteristics of different types of knowledge. Design/methodology/approach -Based on a review of the literature, it is argued that different types of knowledge have the distinctive logic of value creation and social capital. Social capital is seen as a network of individuals with shared norms, beliefs and trust.
more » ... beliefs and trust. Findings -The social network structure for explicit knowledge is centralized and maintained by clearly defined rules, beliefs in high quality and trust in organizational hierarchy. The social network structure for tacit knowledge is distributed and maintained by the norms of reciprocity, beliefs in lifelong learning and an incremental trust. Finally, the social network structure for emergent, potential knowledge is decentralized and maintained by liberal norms, beliefs in innovativeness and an enabling type of trust. Practical implications -This paper helps to understand the role of social capital in the value creation of a firm and the connections between different types of knowledge and their corresponding types of social characteristics. Originality/value -This paper presents a holistic approach to explicit, tacit and potential types of knowledge and the argument that all are needed. It is stated that these three types of knowledge form a basis for three management systems of firms.
doi:10.1108/13673270810852395 fatcat:utsubv7uyrb2xo3ygixr65rkzu