Week 4- Tacit and Explicit Knowledge; SECI Model

Ms Nazirah has shown us the video of final World Cup Football Match 2010 between Netherland and Spain. After watching the video, she asked us to have a discussion of what is the tacit and explicit knowledge between football coach, players and referee aspects.

Below is the summary from class discussion about the video footage:


Tacit: Coach must know the strategy such as the positioning of each player as each of them has their own strength and weaknesses. They have to use their experience on where to position each player based on their ability.

Explicit:  In order to arrange the best strategy to win the games, coach must know rules and regulations of games.


Tacit: Players must have an instinct on how to react when the ball is nearer, to catch the ball, to kick the ball and even when the best times to make a goal. They know where to put themselves at a right time with the right place.

Explicit: Know rules and regulations of game, how to play soccer, header and so on.


Tacit: Referee must have a good experience on the attitudes of players, must know when players is starting to cheat on field and how to control the game

Explicit: Referee must know how to decide whether the game is over/finish, the ball off the field, observe all players on field. On other words, referee must know rules and regulations of game.

In simplest words, we can say that:

Tacit knowledge is the knowledge that hard to be documented. It means he has got the knowledge from previous experience. He has the knowledge internally. The tacit knowledge also could be transferred to another person by verbalizing it.

For example, a tacit knowledge of football players can be the knowledge to make the right decision in deciding a suitable reaction either to shoot or to catch the ball, to kick and even when the best times to make a goal. They know where to put themselves at a right time with the right place. Same goes to the coach as well. They have to use their experience and instinct on where to position each player based on their ability.

In a conclusion, this kind of knowledge is transferable through years of experience, observation and practised. It can never be taught or learnt through papers or lectures.

On the other hand,

Explicit Knowledge is the knowledge that can be captured, documented and presented in physical form. This type of knowledge is very direct and easy to understand as the sources can be obtain through papers

For example, the coach and referee have to select 11 players. Why 11? Why not 12, 13 or 15 players in a team? It is because it has been written down in the rules of the games that a team should consist of 11 players. The players then also have to learn how to play soccer in better way and how to do header before entering the field. The entire lesson can be learnt through video of the real football match.

Oh…Great! Now I can differentiate the tacit and explicit knowledge.


According to Professor Ikujiro Nonaka, knowledge creation is a spiraling process of interactions between explicit and tacit knowledge. The interactions between the explicit and tacit knowledge lead to the creation of new knowledge. The combination of the two categories makes it possible to conceptualize four stages of SECI model:

SECI Model

This process focuses on tacit to tacit knowledge linking. Tacit knowledge goes beyond the boundary and new knowledge is created by using the process of interactions, observing, discussing, analyzing, spending time together or living in same environment. The socialization is also known as converting new knowledge through shared experiences. Organizations gain new knowledge from outside its boundary also like interacting with customers, suppliers and stack holders. This occurs in traditional environments where son learns the technique of wood craft from his father by working with him (rather than from reading from books or manuals).[1]

As an example within ABC Company, each staff/employees are sharing their tacit knowledge by having a discussion and inviting communication process. It means each member in the organization is gaining the knowledge with direct interaction with each other.

This process focuses on tacit to explicit knowledge linking. It helps in creating new knowledge as tacit knowledge comes out of its boundary and became collective group knowledge. This process we can say that knowledge is crystallized. The process of externalization is often driven by metaphor analogy and models. Quality circles are formed in manufacturing sectors where workman put their learning and experience they have to improve or solve the process related problems.[1]

For example when ABC organization’s staffs are having discussion with XYZ organization, the knowledge of ABC organization would be the External Knowledge to XYZ organization and vice versa. It means during the communication process, a person’s tacit knowledge is understood by others. The tacit knowledge of a person is converted or transformed into explicit knowledge

Combination is a process where knowledge transforms from explicit knowledge to explicit knowledge. The finance department collects all financial reports from each departments and publics a consolidated annual financial performance report. Creative use of database to get business report, sorting, adding , categorizing are some examples of combination process.[1]

For example, ABC Company has collected explicit knowledge and information from other organization through research, survey and so on. Then both sources are combined systematically and they applied both explicit knowledge and information they acquired into their organization. It means the explicit knowledge converted into explicit knowledge.

By internalization explicit knowledge is created using tacit knowledge and is shared across the organization. When this tacit knowledge is read or practiced by individuals then it broadens the learning spiral of knowledge creation. Organization tries to innovate or learn when this new knowledge is shared in Socialization process. Organizations provide training programs for its employees at different stages of their working with the company. By reading these training manuals and documents employees internalize the tacit knowledge and try to create new knowledge after the internalization process. [1]

For example, HR Department in ABC company is holding training program for their new IT system implementation. HR Department outsource IT expertise to train its staffs in how to handle the new system. As IT expertise train the ABC Company’s staff, he has used his tacit knowledge and put them in slides presentation (explicit) to ensure them understand better. By listening, reading the slides given, ABC Company’s staffs have gained knowledge about it which in other words they understand (tacit) how to use the new system after the training session.


In class, Miss Nazirah have given us 5 stones and we need to play a game called “Batu Seremban”. Then, we need to observe and relate the game of batu seremban with SECI Model (Socialization, Externalization, Combination, Internalization) throughout the game. My group have came out with this findings

batu seremban activity


[1] http://www.allkm.com/km-basics/knowledge-process.php

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