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Keeping the Wheels of the Automotive Industry Turning: The Use of Tacit Knowledge by Product Development Workers in a Multinational Automotive Manufacturer

Schmidt, René, Bell, Robin ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7325-4277 and Warren, Vessela ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6016-1821 (2021) Keeping the Wheels of the Automotive Industry Turning: The Use of Tacit Knowledge by Product Development Workers in a Multinational Automotive Manufacturer. Journal of Intellectual Capital. ISSN Print: 1469-1930 (In Press)

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Abstract

Purpose
This research identifies the forms of tacit knowledge frequently requested in the job descriptions of knowledge workers in a multinational automotive manufacturer's product development department. It then explores how and why the most requested forms of tacit knowledge are used in practice to achieve organizational goals.

Design/methodology/approach
This study follows a sequential mixed-methods approach to quantify the most frequently requested forms of tacit knowledge within internal job descriptions and then explores how and why this tacit knowledge is used. The first stage applies manifest content analysis to internal job descriptions to highlight the epitomes of tacit knowledge to identify the most frequently requested forms of tacit knowledge. The second stage employs semi-structured interviews to explore the use of the most frequently requested forms of tacit knowledge in practice.

Findings
The research indicated that the organization most frequently requested tacit knowledge in the form of skills and experience in the job descriptions of knowledge workers in the product development department. When the use and application of tacit knowledge in the form of skills were further explored in practice, it was found that tacit knowledge-based socially-focused skills were used, which was underpinned by the need to bring people together and align them towards a common goal to make things work; by enabling people to work together as a team; by developing and using networks; and acting as a required resource to support the development and integration in product development. Tacit knowledge in the form of experience was applied through the application of personally obtained experience to enhance development work by acting as a pacemaker for increasing efficiency and a sense of upcoming issues.

Originality
This work addresses the paucity of studies identifying tacit knowledge in large organizations and meets calls to investigate the processes and activities related to tacit knowledge in specific contexts.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: tacit knowledge, knowledge workers, automotive manufacturer, automotive engineering, product development
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > Worcester Business School
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Robin Bell
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2021 11:44
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2021 11:44
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/10179

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