Salas, Giovanni Carlos
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In upcoming years, many institutions in the private and public sectors will lose valuable organizational knowledge due to organizational restructuring, departmental consolidation, retirements and attrition. This can have a potentially crippling effect on organizational effectiveness and service delivery. Organizations need to establish processes and develop tools that allow them to capture employees know-how-and-know-what, and disseminate that information and knowledge to other employees. In the age of the digital economy, the temptation appears to be to introduce technology to capture codifiable data, resulting in the inadvertent undervaluing of the personal knowledge and expertise accumulated by their employees over many years of practical experience. My focus is on personal knowledge, particularly concerning acquisition and transmission. Approaching the research from a post-positivist as well as a pragmatist approach, I have sought to identify and understand the factors that influence people to share knowledge and conversely how people learn from others, through mentoring for example. Within this context, I advocate for the return to the spirit of craftsmanship and reclaim the ideas of learning by doing, having more human-to-human connections to learn from, and taking the time to be engaged in mastering a practice. My goal has been to question rather than to pursue a definite explanation for how the acquisition and transmission of personal knowledge unfolds. As a pragmatist, I approach the idea of knowledge as a derivative of our engagement and active experience with the world. To this end, I added an applied element to this dissertation; I have included a working prototype of a platform for people to share their skills and interact with others in their network. This software application also acts as a repository of data for my research and for topics related to personal knowledge. For example, it includes an Alphabet of Personal Knowledge wherein I briefly examine the etymology and use of selected words in the context of knowledge acquisition and sharing. My interest lies in using multi-dimensional methods that complement each other with the express goal of creating new knowledge that can in turn be used to improve mentoring and knowledge sharing programs.