Which Knowledge Sharing Type Is Best for Your Company

Discover the different types of knowledge sharing and learn how to choose the one best suited to your company's unique needs

July 27, 2023
Press the button to generate random icebreaker questions.
There are 300 more icebreaker questions at the bottom of the article
How would you describe your job to a five year old?
What season would you be?
What is a weird food you have tried? Would you eat it again?
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Would you go in the mother-ship with aliens if they landed on Earth tomorrow?
What is your favorite season?
Do prefer working from home or the office?
What is your earliest memory of this job?
What is the best thing you have bought so far this year?
What is the earliest book you remember?
If you had to move to another country, which one would you choose?
You are the best criminal mastermind in the world. What crime would you commit if you knew you would get away with it?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
What was the last thing you ate?
What person from history would you add to Mount Rushmore?
What is a weird fact you know?
What is your favorite part of working from home?
Were the Spice Girls a good team?
Imagine you can instantly learn any language. Which would you choose?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Which fictional team is the best team of all time?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What do you usually eat for a quick lunch?
What simple food will you never eat?
Show us the weirdest thing you have in the room with you right now.
Would you rather stay at a hotel or an AirBNB?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
Are you more productive in the morning or at night?
Who is someone in your community that makes a difference?
Who was your most unique pet?
Choose one famous person from history you want on your team during a zombie apocalypse.
What is a good way to give back to the community?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
Is Hugh Grant funny?
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Would you want to have an imaginary friend today? Did you have one as a child?
What actor or actress would you want to play you in the movie about your life?
What is the best super power?
What is your New Years resolution?
You can only eat one food again for the rest of your life. What is it?
What is the best work holiday?
What is the first gift you remember receiving?
Would you rather join Metallica or Backstreet Boys?
What is the best example of a community you have seen?
What is an easy way to do something nice for someone?
Show us your phone background and tell the story behind why you picked this image.
What was your first job?
Pick any band to play at your funeral.
If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
Which superpower would you give to your arch enemy?
What is the most obscure superpower you would want?
What emoji best describes how you are feeling right now?
If you could live in any country, which country would you pick?
Would you rather live in a city or a town?
What is your favorite holiday?
What is something you accomplished as part of a team?
What is your standard office lunch?
What is your most used phone app?
What is your favorite season?
Have you ever won something as a team?
Imagine you are a professional baseball player. What is your introduction song?
Beach holiday or ski trip?
Have you ever been to a funny comedy show?
Would you rather live at the North Pole or the South Pole?
What is your favorite song to sing?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Imagine you could teleport anywhere. Where would you go right now?
What is the most unusual job you have heard of?
What was the last thing you ate?
You can visit any fictional time or place. Which would you pick?
What do your family and friends think you do all day?
What movie do you wish you could watch again for the first time?
Show us your most-used emoji.
What was the most unique style or fashion trend you ever embraced?
What movie defined your generation?
You are stranded on a remote desert island. Are you alone or with your worst enemy?
What is your favorite knock-knock joke?
Have you ever told someone Santa is not real?
Do you know how to speak more than one language?
On a scale of 1 – 10, how much of a team player are you?
What is your #1 recommendation in this city?
What is your favorite holiday?
What bucket list item do you most want to check off in the next six months?
What is your favorite mythical creature?
What was the first way you made money?
If you could be great at any Olympic sport, which would it be?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
When did you start liking/hating mushrooms?
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Do you take your PTO all at one time, or another way?
Which show do you remember most from your childhood?
Which beverage goes best with pizza?
Would you want to have a personal assistant follow you around everywhere and do what you asked of them?
Have you ever met your idol?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Would you rather live 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future?
What is your hobby?
When you are alone in the car, what volume is the music at?
Imagine you no longer have to work. How would you spend a Tuesday?
What is your favorite type of sandwich?

Which Knowledge Sharing Type Is Best for Your Company?

Knowledge is one of the most valuable assets in a company. However, the way we share knowledge in a company is often taken for granted. We tend to view knowledge sharing as a uniform, one-size-fits-all process, when in fact, it's far more nuanced. 

There are several types of knowledge and ways of sharing them. Each type has its strengths, and understanding these can help you identify the one that best suits your organization.

In this article, we'll break down the different types of knowledge that exist in a company and discuss the most effective ways to share each type.

Our goal is to provide a comprehensive guide to help you understand the dynamics of knowledge sharing in organizations and select the approach that best fits your company's unique needs.

What Are the Different Types of Knowledge Sharing?

There are several types of knowledge sharing systems, each with its unique set of characteristics, benefits, and challenges. 

A common question is, "What are the 7 types of knowledge?" To answer this and provide a detailed understanding of each, we'll be discussing them individually in the following sections. Each type will include its use case, pros and cons, and how Assembly supports its sharing within your organization.

1. Explicit Knowledge

This type of knowledge sharing involves the exchange of information that is easily articulated, captured, stored, and accessed. Explicit knowledge sharing relies heavily on straightforward and easy-to-understand content.

Let’s say your company has a step-by-step guide on filing expense reports. Sharing that guide with the team is an example of explicit knowledge sharing. The knowledge is clear, the process is well-defined, it’s easy to communicate, and everyone can understand it.

Pros: Explicit knowledge sharing within organizations makes onboarding and training smooth. It helps in setting standard procedures across the organization.

Cons: Its simplicity can sometimes miss out on real-life complexity. It may not always capture the nuances that come with experience.

How Assembly helps: Assembly supports explicit knowledge sharing by offering features like document management and collaborative editing tools that allows your team to create, update, and share this kind of knowledge with ease.

2. Implicit Knowledge Sharing

Implicit knowledge sharing refers to sharing information that is not directly expressed but can be inferred from the context or related information. It involves reading between the lines and making connections that are not immediately obvious.

For instance, if your company has an unwritten rule that everyone works late on Fridays to meet weekly targets, that's implicit knowledge. It's not formally stated anywhere, but team members understand and abide by it over time. 

Pros: Implicit knowledge sharing can create a unique company culture as it relies on shared experiences and mutual understanding.

Cons: It can be challenging for new employees to grasp as it often requires time, experience, and observation. Also, crucial information may sometimes be overlooked if it's not directly communicated.

How Assembly helps: Assembly can indirectly assist with implicit knowledge sharing. Features such as team chat and discussion forums can encourage communication and social interaction and provide an environment where implicit knowledge can be more naturally understood and absorbed.

3. Tacit Knowledge Sharing

Tacit knowledge sharing is the transfer of personal, experiential knowledge that's hard to express verbally or in writing. This kind of knowledge is context-specific and often difficult to share.

Let's imagine an experienced chef in a restaurant. Their unique cooking techniques or their knack for creating a new recipe are examples of tacit knowledge. These skills, honed over the years, are hard to capture in a cookbook.

Pros: Tacit knowledge offers your company a unique edge. It's hard to imitate and gives your team a competitive advantage.

Cons: Unfortunately, tacit knowledge can be challenging to document or share. And, if an employee with a wealth of tacit knowledge leaves, that knowledge may leave with them.

How Assembly helps: Assembly offers features that promote interaction and mentorship. They include one-on-one meetings, DMs, and group discussion boards for employees to share their experiential knowledge.

4. Procedural Knowledge Sharing

Procedural knowledge sharing refers to the transfer of knowledge needed to perform a particular task. In other words, it's about sharing the 'how-to' of specific actions or procedures in the workplace.

Think of a team member who's excellent at using a specific software tool. Their understanding of the best ways to use that tool is procedural knowledge. If they create a guide or a tutorial for others to follow, that's procedural knowledge sharing.

Pros: Procedural knowledge sharing provides a consistent way of doing things, ensuring a unified quality of work across your team.

Cons: However, procedural knowledge might limit creative problem-solving or innovation, as it tends to standardize the ways tasks are performed.

How Assembly helps: Assembly offers a platform to store and share step-by-step guides, manuals, and procedural documents. This allows your team to access this 'how-to' knowledge easily when they need it.

5. Declarative Knowledge Sharing

Declarative knowledge sharing is when you transfer “what is” information. It focuses on facts, data, or specific information that explains something but doesn’t show you how to use it.

For example, if your company has specific guidelines on remote work, such as the days remote work is allowed, sharing these facts with your team would be declarative knowledge sharing.

Pros: This type of knowledge sharing ensures everyone has the same understanding of facts and rules.

Cons: It may lack context or depth as it focuses on straightforward information.

How Assembly helps: Assembly is a great tool for declarative knowledge sharing. You can use it to post announcements or updates, ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding the latest facts or rules.

6. A Posteriori Knowledge Sharing

A posteriori knowledge sharing involves sharing lessons learned from specific experiences or observations. Unlike tacit knowledge, which is hard to articulate, a posteriori knowledge can be communicated more clearly because it's based on specific experiences.

Let's say a team member has discovered a new approach to closing deals after several successful sales. If they share their methods with the team, that's a posteriori knowledge sharing.

Pros: This knowledge is practical and grounded in reality. It can offer invaluable insights based on real-life experiences. It includes lessons learned from past projects or customer feedback.

Cons: As it's derived from personal experiences, this type of knowledge can be highly subjective and difficult to analyze.

How Assembly helps: Assembly supports a posteriori knowledge sharing with features like project retrospectives, discussion groups, and feedback tools. 

7. A Priori Knowledge Sharing

A priori knowledge sharing focuses on the exchange of universally true principles or theories. This is not tied to specific facts or personal experiences, which differentiates it from declarative knowledge.

Take, for instance, discussing general principles of good leadership during a team meeting. These principles are universally true, unlike sharing a specific fact like "Our company was founded in 2010," which would be declarative knowledge sharing.

Pros: This type of knowledge sharing is instrumental in creating a shared understanding of universal principles or theories within a team.

Cons: However, this type of knowledge might seem too abstract for some situations, especially since no one situation is the same.

Each of these knowledge types has its place in a company, and choosing which to focus on depends on your specific needs and circumstances.

Choosing the Right Type of Knowledge Sharing for Your Company

Becoming a knowledge sharing organization is hard work, and so is choosing the best knowledge-sharing strategy for your company. Your choice can have a big impact on teamwork, problem-solving, and your organization's overall success. Here are six key factors to consider when making this choice:

1. Company Structure and Culture

The way your organization is set up and how it operates can determine which type of knowledge sharing is best.

For instance, hierarchical organizations have a clear chain of command, from the top management down to the lower-level employees. In such an environment, explicit knowledge sharing often works best. Why? Because this approach centers on well-defined, easy-to-understand information that leaves little room for interpretation.

In contrast, flat organizations tend to favor tacit and implicit knowledge sharing, promoting learning from colleagues' experiences.

2. Nature of Work 

The type of work performed also determines which type of knowledge sharing is most suitable. Roles involving technical skills and procedures often benefit from explicit and procedural knowledge sharing.

Example: Software development relies heavily on standard operating procedures and guidelines. 

On the flip side, if your organization is involved in more creative or subjective fields, such as marketing, design, or innovation, then implicit, tacit, or even a posteriori knowledge sharing could be more effective. These fields require a high degree of personal insight, intuition, and individual creativity – things that are difficult to articulate or codify.

Example: Advertising agencies often conduct brainstorming sessions, a form of tacit knowledge sharing.

3. Team and Individual Preferences

Recognizing that people have different learning styles is crucial. Some are visual learners, favoring diagrams, images, or videos. For them, explicit and declarative knowledge sharing often works well, presenting complex ideas visually for easier understanding.

Example: In the advertising industry, where visuals are key, explicit knowledge sharing with diagrams and images is widely used to convey ideas and strategies.

On the other hand, experiential learners gain the most from hands-on experiences or learning from others. These individuals typically respond to tacit and a posteriori knowledge sharing, gaining knowledge through actual experience. 

Example: The hospitality industry often leverages tacit knowledge sharing, where employees learn by doing and observing their peers in action. 

4. Industry Standards

Industry norms and standards can affect the type of knowledge sharing. Highly regulated sectors often prefer explicit knowledge sharing in the form of precise guidelines and procedures.

Sometimes, this detailed documentation is required of them by laws and standards — like the IS0 9001:2015 which specifies requirements for an organization to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and statutory requirements.

Example: Banks typically adopt explicit knowledge sharing, clearly outlining policies and procedures for compliance and consistency.

5. Size of the Organization

Your organization's size can influence the type of knowledge sharing that's most effective. Large corporations often rely more on explicit, procedural, and declarative knowledge sharing, standardizing processes across levels and reducing miscommunication.

Example: A multinational corporation might use explicit knowledge sharing for consistent customer service procedures.

In contrast, smaller companies and startups might find tacit and implicit knowledge sharing best for their flexible, often changing environments. 

Example: A tech startup might use tacit knowledge sharing during project sprints, with developers learning from each other's coding techniques in real-time.

6. Technology

Currently, as many as 90% of companies are using e-learning software and online tools. 

Your company's technology infrastructure affects the type of knowledge sharing you can implement. A robust tech infrastructure supports all knowledge sharing types, from explicit and declarative with sophisticated document management systems to tacit and implicit through collaborative tools.

Example: Companies with a strong tech infrastructure can use advanced document management systems for explicit knowledge sharing.

However, less technologically advanced companies might focus more on tacit and a posteriori knowledge sharing types, using face-to-face meetings or simple shared documents.

Example: Small businesses might use implicit knowledge sharing, leveraging basic tools like shared documents or regular team meetings.

7. Level of Employee Expertise

The level of expertise within your workforce plays a significant role in determining the most suitable knowledge sharing type. Companies with a higher proportion of experienced employees might lean towards tacit and implicit knowledge sharing. Their seasoned workers possess a wealth of unarticulated knowledge that can be transferred through collaboration and mentorship.

Example: A consulting firm with seasoned professionals might leverage tacit knowledge sharing, with junior consultants learning directly from seniors' insights and experiences.

Conversely, organizations with less experienced employees or high turnover rates might rely on explicit and procedural knowledge, providing clear guidelines, and processes to help newcomers get up to speed quickly.

Example: Fast-food chains often use procedural knowledge sharing, providing clear operational guidelines to newly hired staff.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Picking a Knowledge Sharing Type

Organizations frequently run across certain difficulties while promoting a culture of knowledge sharing. Here are four typical errors you should avoid:

  • Overlooking employee preferences: A frequent mistake is not considering what your team likes. How do they want to learn and share information? For instance, 58% of employees prefer self-paced learning programs. 

Another example would be if they like videos but you only use text. They might find it hard to understand the information. So, pick a knowledge sharing type that your team likes. This way, they can easily understand and use the information.

  • Over-reliance on one type: Another common error is leaning too much on a single kind of knowledge sharing. Different situations may need different types. You might want to use explicit knowledge for training new hires, but tacit knowledge sharing may work better for improving team collaboration. Mix it up based on what you need at the moment.
  • Not adapting to changing needs: Businesses evolve, and so do their knowledge sharing needs. What worked for your company during its startup phase might not work now that it has grown. It's essential to regularly revisit your chosen knowledge sharing methods, and tweak them when needed.

For instance, the pandemic saw companies pivoting to collaboration tools that helped connect their teams from all over the world. In fact, collaboration software saw a 30% increase from 2019. This helps to ensure they still fit your company's current state and needs. If they don't, it's time to adjust and adapt.

  • Lack of encouragement: Knowledge sharing should be a cultural norm, not an obligation. If employees don't feel encouraged or motivated to share their knowledge, the entire process can fail. Companies should strive to create an environment where sharing is rewarded, not just expected. This can be done through recognition, rewards, or simply showing appreciation for contributions.

Picking the right knowledge sharing method for your company involves a careful look at its structure, the type of work you do, what your team prefers, industry norms, the size of your company, and your tech setup. The goal is to have a balanced approach that supports ongoing learning and new ideas, while also steering clear of common stumbling blocks.

Boost Your Knowledge Sharing with Assembly

It's crucial to choose the right type of knowledge sharing for your company. Getting this right will improve training, boost innovation, and create a more collaborative workplace. But, every type of knowledge sharing has its challenges and benefits, and finding a balance that suits your company is important.

Assembly is here to help you find this balance and make the most out of your knowledge sharing practices. With features that facilitate all 7 forms of knowledge sharing (tangible and intangible), your team can create, update, and share information with no hassle whatsoever.

One feature to highlight is Assembly's recognition feature, which encourages a culture of appreciation and makes employees feel valued for their contributions.

Don't wait any longer. Find out how Assembly can support your company's knowledge sharing needs. Schedule your demo here!

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

Explore Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at support@joinassembly.com.

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

Could find the answer you are looking for?

Please schedule time with an expert and we will help you to get all your questions answered