Can Know-How Be Signaled?

Nuno Gil1

1Visiting Scholar at Sloan Management School, M.I.T. Lecturer, Project Management Division, Manchester Centre for Civil & Construction Engineering, UMIST and The University of Manchester. E-mail: [email protected]; Tel. +44 (0) 161 200 4632; Fax +44 (0) 161 200 4646


Knowledge here is defined as applying to the body of facts gathered by study, observation, and experience, as well as to the ideas inferred from those facts. Knowledge connotes an understanding of what is known. Whereas explicit knowledge has been formalized and codified, tacit knowledge may exist only in the heads of individuals. Know-how here means a subset of tacit knowledge, comprised of its operational and logistic dimensions. First, this paper articulates the problem of the lack of transference of tacit knowledge between designers and builders. It questions to what extent means and methods can be developed to help individuals signal some degree of tacit knowledge, and thereby enhance the subsequent transfer of know-how across architecture-engineering-construction (AEC) organizations’ boundaries. Then, a literature review of knowledge engineering and management as applied to the AEC domain is presented. Finally, the objectives and the expected results of a proposal to investigate hypothetical ways to help designers and builders signal their know-how are discussed.


Knowledge management, communication, tacit knowledge



Gil, N. 2002. Can Know-How Be Signaled?, 10th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , 37-48.

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