Sample Essay on “Ways of Knowing Operate Differently In Personal and Shared Knowledge”


Hislop says that knowledge can be acquired through a myriad of processes (779). The acquisition process depends on the specific type of knowledge since there are five distinct forms of knowledge; embodied, embedded, embrained, en-cultured, and encoded (Yakhlef 409). According to Hislop, embodied knowledge is gained through training and it is inseparable from the holder. Embedded knowledge on the other hand is gained through performance of similar tasks and routines. Embedded knowledge turns out to be embodied knowledge after it has been practiced for a lengthy period. The two types of knowledge, embodied and embedded, resonate with en-cultured knowledge as it is described as the type of knowledge which is inscribed among people who share a common culture. Similarly, Yakhlef asserts that encoded knowledge is a transferrable form of knowledge which is represented in codes; that is, in written form, diagrams, guidelines, and instructions among other processes (410).

However, embrained knowledge differs from the other four types as it is defined as the knowledge that an individual can posses. Hislop espouses it as a type of knowledge that can be presented easily and individual finds difficulty expressing it (780). Embrained knowledge is then gained through experience over time and may reflect one’s perceptions, opinions, values, beliefs, and morals. The five forms of knowledge can be trimmed down to two types based on their mode of acquisition. Therefore, the five forms of knowledge can be categorized into either personal or shared knowledge. This essay therefore factors out that the ways of knowing or acquiring knowledge operate differently in personal and shared knowledge. This essay therefore expounds on the argument that personal knowledge is acquired differently from shared knowledge.

Personal knowledge versus shared knowledge    

Personal knowledge is referred to as knowledge by acquaintance as it depends heavily on individual commitment (Swigon 833). The individual may have gained exceptional cognitive abilities trough vast experiences of service delivery or performance of a certain task. In fact, the intellectual abilities differ among personalities and individuals characters and it is sometimes difficult to find a matching replacement. Hislop says that a knowledge intensive employee is built on the tacit knowledge platforms where it depends on individual’s commitment and the ability to understand and practice a craft (782). Alwis and Hartman (133) define tacit knowledge as a type of knowledge that is acquired informally and depends on the individual’s emotions, values, and commitment. Tacit knowledge is unconventional and is acquired through observations and imitation. Additionally, tacit knowledge is driven by the individual’s passion and involvement in the innovation process (Alwis and Hartman 134).

In personalized type of knowledge, individuals tend take control of the ownership of knowledge. Individuals fear the probability of losing the control of knowledge they poses and they may be deterred from sharing it. The primal argument in personalization of knowledge is that it is created by individuals and bounded by their mental models and reality perception(Swigon 842). Personal knowledge follows the ontological dimension in which its exposition entails the approach of metaphors and a far-reaching process of socialization. Sharing of personal knowledge is made possible through networking among those who possess it, and this is referred to as Communities of Practice (CoP) (Paulin and Suneson 83).

Shared knowledge on the other hand is coded and it is obtained from instructional materials such as books and the individual awareness of scientific formulas (Alwis and Hartman 134). Imparting explicit knowledge on an individual depends on the instructions given. Paulin and Suneson assert that shared knowledge involves the process of transfer of information between and among individuals (83). Expressively, shared knowledge involves interaction and an exchange process. As mentioned earlier, there are five forms of knowledge and the four of them rely on transfer of information. For example, encultured knowledge depends on the cultural settings that an individual has been exposed to. The learning process is automated where the individual will share the norms and beliefs of that culture.

The embedded dimension of knowledge depends on the outlined routines and systems. For example, an organization may stipulate rules and regulations that each employee is expected to observe. The rules may involve observing certain type of dressing. Intrinsically, the employees will find themselves adhering to that dressing code even when they are not within the work place even though they were guided on how to dress.


As Swigon clarifies, the main distinction between personal knowledge from shared knowledge is that it talks of what I know (834). Personal knowledge is owned by an individual and surfaces within their cognitive parameters. The essay has found out that personal knowledge is acquired cognitively and relies on the individual’s passion and commitment. Character, beliefs, values, and morals take charge in personal knowledge. The essay has also explained extensively that shared knowledge depends on conveyance from one point to the other. It is structured in systems such as education curricula and it is encoded in books. Shared knowledge is also passed from one generation to the other as in the case of encultured knowledge. Therefore, ways of knowing operate differently in personal and shared knowledge.



Works cited

Alwis, R. and  Hartman, E.. The use of tacit knowledge within innovative companies: Knowledge management in innovative enterprises. Journal of Knowledge Management, 12(1), (2008).133-147.

Hislop, Dan. Knowledge management as an ephemeral management fashion? Journal of Knowledge Management, 14(6), (2010).  779-790.

Paulin, Dan and Suneson, Kaj. “Knowledge Transfer, Knowledge Sharing and Knowledge Barriers – Three Blurry Terms in KM” The Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management Volume 10 1. (2012): pp81-91

Swigon, Marzena. Personal knowledge and information management – conception and exemplification. Journal of Information Science (2013) vol. 39 no. 6 832-845

Yakhlef, A. The corporeality of practice-based learning. Organisation Studies, 31(4), (2010) 409- 430.