2.2.6 Encoded knowledge

2.2.6 Encoded knowledge

            Encoded knowledge (collective-explicit) is fully explicit and conveyed by signs and symbols, such as books, manuals and codes of practice (Blackler, 1995). Electronically encoded and transmitted information has also been added to the traditional forms of encoded knowledge. It tends to generate a unified and predictable pattern of behavior and output in organizations. Zuboff's (1988) analysis of the 'informating' power of information technologies explores the significance of this point for organizations: information encoded by de-contextualized, abstract symbols is inevitably highly selective in the representations/meaning it can convey.

            Brown & Duguid 's (1991) account of efforts to develop Xerox as a learning organization provides an example of how the development of each of these different forms of knowledge may contribute to organizational learning. Brown pointed to the advantages for a company like Xerox of undertaking new product development in close association with potential customers. He identified the relevance of the embedded knowledge of Xerox's customers for an understanding of their reactions to new office machinery. He illustrated how design engineers at Xerox learned from ethnographic studies of how people interact with machines i.e. from studies of the ways in which encoded knowledge interacts with, and may disrupt, embodied knowledge and he emphasized too how studies of communications between engineers in Xerox have revealed how essential dialogue is between them to increase their effectiveness in solving problems (Blackler, 1995).

            Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) and Boisot (1998), although taking into account that both explicit and implicit knowledge, have put emphasis on the encoded type as a fundamental construct when it comes to knowledge development and learning organizations as it is shareable among organization’s member. Other researchers consider that it is neither possible nor desirable to encode all knowledge in a firm (Andreu & Sieber, 2001).