Organizational Learning & Knowledge Management LO23953

From: John Zavacki (
Date: 02/11/00

Replying to LO23931 --

AT says:

> I think there is some misunderstanding here.
> I did not say that knowledge gets depleted when tacit knowledge gets
> "ARTICULATED". I said that the TACIT knowlegde gets depleted. Its like
> drawing money from a certain account to do something with it.
> That account
> cannot have the same amount of money after the drawing.
> (Sidetrack -- I have capitalised the "articulated" because to
> me it means
> expressing the tacit knowledge in ANY FORM. It can be in a natural
> language, mathematical expressions, experiementation, music, or even
> cooking. It is again this incredible thing of "transforming
> content into
> form". That is why I prefer to use "form"al knowledge for that which
> emerge from tacit knowledge.)

I don't see the mechanism. The tacit knowledge still exists as tacit
knowledge. The formal representation of it as a parsed sentence, a
flowchart, equation, or even a novel, doesn't mean that the tacit
knowledge has been changed. The users of the knowledge still use it, as
tacit knowledge, without referring to the formal knowledge which has been
used to describe and explain it. For the users, it is still tacit.
Knowledge isn't a phyical entity, such as money (even though money is a
symbolic entity), knowledge is a state. It transforms, yes, but the tacit
state still attains.

I snipped the money examples, which to me are not a fair or even uselful
representation of the problem.

> When articulating tacit knowledge into formal knowledge AND
> SURE that the formal knowledge do indeed express the tacit knowledge,
> there are also costs involved. It means that this process is NOT
> reversible because SOMETHING gets used up. The LOSS of this
> manifested in the tacit knowledge getting depleted FASTER
> than the formal
> knowledge getting filled.

I'm afraid I'm having a problem with entropic notions in this context.
The change of states, addition of states in a mental model don't appear to
have an entropic ordering. If I learn new ways to express (that is,
teach) a bit of knowledge, it does not deplete the knowledge. It may
decrease storage capacity in my little gray cells, is that the point?

As for rivers and grandfathers, I've experienced only the former. I don't
find the analogy useful. I do, however, believe that you can't step in
the same stream once and that it is this systems dynamic which needs be
understand in more than two axes. If we look at the mathematics of mind,
the notions of thresholds of learning, represented by weights, we can
understand states as well. The higher the number, the more likely the
thought to be remembered, used, and eventually, transformed by association
with some other "weighty" thought, but, then, how can I do this again and
again?? Haven't I used up the numbers?

With whimsical and good spirited teaching, the joke becomes the
intellectual paradigm which creates the new theory.....

Gemba Kaizenski


"John Zavacki" <>

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>

"Learning-org" and the format of our message identifiers (LO1234, etc.) are trademarks of Richard Karash.