While tacit knowledge appears to be simple, it has far reaching consequences and is not widely understood.
An example of the tacit knowledge approach to transferring knowledge within a global organization is provided by Toyota. When Toyota wants to transfer knowledge of its production system to new employees in a new assembly factory, such as the factory recently opened in Valenciennes, France, Toyota typically selects a core group of two to three hundred new employees and sends them for several months training and
work on the assembly line in one of Toyota’s existing factories. After several months of studying the production system and working alongside experienced Toyota assembly line workers, the new workers are sent back to the new factory site. These repatriated workers are accompanied by one or two hundred long-term, highly experienced Toyota workers, who will then work alongside all the new employees in the new factory to assure that knowledge of Toyota’s finely tuned production process is fully implanted in the new factory.
Professor of Management, Copenhagen Business School