Research Summary

The Power of Tacit Knowledge

by Dorothy A. Leonard


Knowledge that is unlikely to be codified, but remains largely in peoples' heads, is often critically important to the innovation process. Dorothy Leonard is extending her prior work on knowledge assets to explore why, when and how tacit knowledge is shared during the early stages of new product development. The study includes investigation of barriers to sharing such knowledge (e.g., non-overlapping mental models) and conditions under which such sharing is imperative (e.g., when innovation is moving too swiftly to await codification, or when such knowledge is competitively sensitive.)