Tacit knowledge in an age of reform

Pete Mann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article traces the periods of centralized management training in the Cyprus civil service, from Independence in 1960 to the mid 1990s. For each period, an original analysis of the purpose for, the approach to and the focus of the training is given. These three perspectives correspond, respectively, to why training is provided, how it is designed and what it covers. It is then asked whether tacit assumptions about management training accruing from these historical periods might not affect civil servants' current attitudes toward training for reform. To answer this question, a case study is presented of recent department-specific management development, against which - in reverse order - each of the three questions above is examined. Evidence is presented that suggests participants undergoing the training experienced an interplay in the formation of their knowledge between tacit and explicit knowing. This finding is in turn held up against recent research from Japan, where conversions in knowledge-creating companies were documented between tacit and explicit abilities. Finally, it is suggested that, by taking account in the strategic design of management learning for reform of 'crossing' over thought worlds (converting tacit to explicit knowledge and back again), progress can be made in achieving relevant learning and transferable training.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-90
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2001


  • Civil service reform
  • Departmental management development
  • Knowledge conversions
  • Knowledge formation
  • Tacit knowledge
  • Training for decentralization

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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