2.3 Codification and formalisation
Much of the knowledge management literature argues the importance of making tacit knowledge explicit, and then codified. For instance, an explicit goal when auditing intellectual capital is to identify human capital as one of the key assets that give an organisation its true value. Some organisations are realising that a large quantity of their ‘assets’ leave the office for home each evening, perhaps never to return, and as a consequence want to capture these in a less vulnerable form. This means codifying them in some way. However, codification is not restricted to the field of intellectual capital; it pervades, indeed underpins, all attempts to systematise processes and records.
What does the codification of knowledge entail? An answer to this must be grounded in an understanding of how knowledge gets transformed from the mind of an individual to reside eventually on a computer. You may have considered tacit-explicit knowledge. In order to understand how technologies fit in, we must investigate the tacit-explicit continuum in more detail, since it lies at the heart of the digital codification process. What happens to knowledge as it is codified? What is gained and what is lost?