Resource title

Why Tacit Knowledge Protects the Firm's Evolutionary Potential (And Why Codification Doesn't)

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The present article introduces the theory of cultural evolution as a possible basis for furtherdevelopment of a micro-evolutionary economic theory. Cultural evolution is Lamarckian andinvolves social transmission of explicit knowledge by choice or imposition. A possiblecomplementary Darwinian principle operating in the social realm is defined in terms of socialtransmission of tacit knowledge. According to this principle, termed Local EmulativeSelection, some forms of tacit knowledge are not adapted (those which cannot be reached byconsciousness) by their carrier. I then identify a problem of adaptation that plagues any formof Lamarckian selection. This base-line problem implies that the evolutionary potentialdecreases as the possibility of adaptation increases. In consequence, the social transmissionof tacit knowledge, which cannot be reached by consciousness, protects the evolutionarypotential associated with any form of social evolution. By contrast, it is suggested that asystematic codification of tacit knowledge can potentially corrupt the evolutionary potentialof any organisation.

Resource author

Thorbjørn Knudsen

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eng

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application/pdf

Resource resource URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10398/6889

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