Mastering Tacit Corridors for Competitive Advantage: Cross-cultural Knowledge Creation and Sharing at Four International Firms

Martin Glisby, Nigel Holden

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    In today's business world, knowledge is shaped in corporate relationships and diffused in networks. A major mode of knowledge is the tacit dimension, which refers to the elusive, uncodified knowledge that comes from experience, is hard to quantify, but gives an all-important mood and tone to explicit knowledge. Tacit knowledge is traditionally viewed as an important though hazily conceived organizational asset; however, here it is treated as something that is co-created in cross-cultural business relationships and as a knowledge resource of immense significance. Tacit knowledge is prone to serious misappreciation by managers, but understanding it for what it is can give firms a key edge that the authors term knowledge advantage. Here, they use case-study data from four international firms to introduce a model that makes use of the concepts of tacit corridors and coupling. Tacit corridors are the metaphorical spaces in cross-cultural interactions where managers' thoughts and actions are constrained—often inexplicably—by uncertainty and imperfect sense-making. Coupling is the process of reflexivity-based action for facilitating knowledge flows connecting individuals, organizations, and networks. Knowledge advantage is the art of mastering tacit corridors through the context-sensitive application of coupling
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalGlobal Business and Organizational Excellence
    Issue number5
    Pages (from-to)64-77
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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