KM Software

Updated On: Apr 1, 2024

5 Types of Knowledge Management | Explicit, Declarative, Implicit, Tacit & Procedural

Reading-Time 8 Min

Types of Knowledge Management

In 1924, leveraging manpower was the key to business success. Today, a century later, business success lies in taming the digital deluge. The digital revolution has reshaped our landscape. Studies indicate a staggering 328.77 million terabytes of data are created daily, projected to reach an annual production of 181 zettabytes by 2025. Amidst this deluge, transforming data into actionable insight is crucial. 

Tom Davenport understood this when he explained that Knowledge Management is more than a process; it’s a strategic necessity. It’s about capturing, sharing, and effectively using knowledge, the bedrock of organizational intelligence.

Without proper knowledge management, customer service agents struggle to access pertinent data. This results in slow responses, frustrating customers and hindering businesses from developing important data-driven strategies  

In today’s business landscape, where competitiveness is the norm and continuous growth is essential, the adage “knowledge is power” holds true. Effective knowledge management involves harnessing different types of knowledge management to fuel decision-making, problem-solving, innovation, and overall performance. 

5 Types of Knowledge Management Why They Are Important

1. Explicit Knowledge

Explicit knowledge refers to tangible data, procedures, or insights, that can be easily documented, structured, shared, and analysed. This knowledge facilitates data-driven decision-making and effective communication. 

For example, the customer service team’s performance metrics report is explicit knowledge. This data is easy to structure and share with team leaders. It helps the leaders to identify areas for improvement, by analysing the targets met or comparing monthly performance.  

2. Declarative Knowledge

As the name suggests, this form of knowledge refers to the information that simply states facts or describes something without proposing any related actions. 

In the example of the performance metrics report, declarative knowledge would be the raw data like number of customer inquiries received, average response time, or customer satisfaction ratings.  

These are facts and figures that simply describe the current situation. It is different from explicit knowledge as it does not give insight into the targets met or the comparative performance. 

3. Implicit Knowledge

Explicit knowledge refers to acquiring knowledge, but implicit knowledge refers to applying this knowledge.  

From the above example, we know that the performance metrics report is explicit knowledge. However, once the team leaders identify areas for improvement, they make informed decisions about resource allocation or training initiatives. This process transforms explicit knowledge into implicit knowledge. 

Another example is attending a product demonstration of a new AI software feature. During the demo, you gain explicit/theoretical knowledge. But when you use the feature yourself, your explicit knowledge becomes implicit knowledge through hands-on experience. 

This form of knowledge is easy to communicate, but hard to document and use. 

4. Tacit Knowledge

Simply put tactic knowledge is the intuition, personal insights, skills, and experiences of an individual. 

Following the above example, if the performance metrics report shows a high number of unresolved customer issues, the team leader may decide to assign additional training for the low-performing team members, implement a new customer service software tool, or restructure workflows to streamline the resolution process.  

The tactics he uses will comes from his own intuition, experience, and understanding as to what actions are most likely to improve the team’s performance.  

This form of knowledge plays the most important role in business success, as your employees are still the key players. But as this knowledge is stored in their minds and manifested only through their actions, decisions, and behaviors – it cannot be easily documented. Consequently, when key employees leave, this knowledge is lost.  

5. Procedural Knowledge

Procedural knowledge refers to the information that describes how to perform specific tasks, procedures, or operations. It comprises step-by-step instructions, guidelines, best practices, and methodologies.  

For example, procedural knowledge for customer service agents would involve step-by-step instructions for handling customer inquiries. Such as greeting the customer with a friendly tone, gathering specified information, offer solutions or escalate, and follow up to ensure satisfaction. 

It is crucial to structure and share procedural knowledge to ensure uniform service and performance across customer service teams.  

Make your Knowledge Work for you With Knowmax 

It is easy to see how all the different kinds of data play a role in an organisation, but to stay ahead of the curve, you need a tool to manage and effectively use all these different kinds of knowledge. 

Knowmax is an AI-powered knowledge management system that helps successful brands like Walmart, Vodafone, and Jupiter to effectively manage their enterprise knowledge corpus.  

So, here’s how Knowmax captures and transforms different types of knowledge: 

1. Explicit Knowledge

Knowmax organizes and sorts explicit knowledge, like reports and FAQs, making it super easy to find. For instance, it can tag FAQs under specific topics or categories to make them readily available to customers seeking relevant information through the product webpage. 

2. Declarative Knowledge

Knowmax structures declarative data into informational content. For instance, it can store explanations about products or services in a structured format for users to understand their features and functionalities. 

3. Implicit Knowledge

Knowmax can help document key management decisions and then transform them into implicit knowledge by creating content such as standard operating procedures, guides to best practices, case studies, and next-best-action workflows.

This content can then be used by other team members to guide their decision-making processes, effectively transferring implicit knowledge across the organization.  

4. Tacit Knowledge

Now, this is where things get interesting. Knowmax’s AI analyses customer-agent interactions, picking up on tones, reactions, and more. Through this it can identify and capture valuable customer insights and agent expertise that may not be explicitly documented. This data can be used to hyper-personalize individual customer experience and share best practices for various customer interactions.   

5. Procedural Knowledge

Lastly, Knowmax helps organize procedural knowledge into easy-to-follow workflows and guides. For example, with it you can create visual guide and next best action workflows to help users through complex problems. 

So, with Knowmax, your knowledge works for you!  

Yatharth Jain


Yatharth has over 8 years of experience in CX, KM, and BPM. He founded Knowmax to make knowledge a genuine superpower for CX teams. He blends his experience working with CX and KM leaders across industries with the latest technology trends to build products people love.

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