University of Leicester
2019ROSSETDSocSci.pdf (3.64 MB)

Eliciting tacit knowledge. How a multidimensional organisational configuration affects the flow of knowledge: A case study of the United Nations Police

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posted on 2019-02-27, 11:06 authored by David Rosset
This thesis explores how knowledge flows are affected by a multidimensional organisational configuration, giving a specific focus to relations between tacit knowledge and organisational forms. The rationale for this focus is that what is left implicit or taken for granted is likely to vary both across parts of the organisation and the hierarchy. The aim is to offer insight into what creates the conditions that either prevent knowledge from being made explicit or that limit its transfer. The literature review covers a number of lines of argument about types of knowledge and strategies for their collection, including an emphasis on organisational learning. While the works that specifically address tacit knowledge disagree as to both its nature and the potential to make it explicit, a central tenet that has emerged from the more business-oriented literature is how tacit knowledge is a pivotal driver in influencing what kind of information fails to get reported and distributed. The research method adopted to examine these matters is a case study approach, with the research setting being the UN Police deployed in multidimensional peacekeeping missions. In addition to being informed by interpretive approaches, the methodology involved ideas of action research. Both quantitative and qualitative empirical methods were deployed to examine: how organisational design and knowledge management strategies influence the elicitation or retention of tacit knowledge; and how tacit knowledge interacts with major subsystems, thereby shaping knowledge flow. The findings suggest some limited processes and mechanisms that might assist in eliciting tacit knowledge. In rendering more visible the community of practices and related social networks through which tacit knowledge might be made explicit enough to enhance its flow across organisational dimensions, this study fosters a better understanding of the part practitioners play in harmonising the concept of knowledge with what is taken for granted as ‘know-how’.



Munro, Rolland; Rudloff, Daniela

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Management

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DSocSci



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