2.2.7 Encultured knowledge

2.2.7 Encultured knowledge

            In previous subsections we have seen many authors have regarded knowledge as a social product. Some authors talked about knowledge which is embedded in a variety of contextual factors related to organizational culture, common language, and workgroups. However, Collins (1993) viewed this knowledge from another perspective and called it ‘encultured knowledge’. This knowledge is social and could not exist without the  existence of the social groups. It is constantly evolving and therefore cannot be taught by formal means such as memos, letter, databases, etc.  Collins (1993) argued that encultured knowledge cannot be learnt from written descriptions because it cannot be expressed by rules as there would be infinite number of terms depending on a specific context, situation, etc.  It is collective tacit knowledge which can be transferred only through inter-personal contact or socialization (ibid, 1993).

            Encultured knowledge may also be referred to the process of achieving shared understandings through socialization and acculturation. Language and negotiation become the discourse of this type of knowledge in an organization such as changes in the language as people experiment with new metaphors and other people take them up (Blackler, 1995).

            Srivastva and Barrett (1988) in their work on organizational learning have demonstrated how imagery in the language of a group can change over time. As people grasp for new insight, they experiment with new metaphors that others may take up and develop. Orr’s (1990) account of stories shared by maintenance technicians about complex mechanical problems and Nonaka’s (1991, 1994, 1994b, 1995) work on knowledge creating organizations are examples of this concept.