Research Output
Tacit knowledge sharing in online environments: locating “Ba” within a platform for public sector professionals
  Results from a survey undertaken by members of an online platform that incorporates social media features, and enables knowledge sharing amongst public sector professionals, are presented in this paper. The work responds to a call to enhance understanding of information behaviour and knowledge sharing practices online (Widen-Wulff, Ek, Ginman, Perttila, Sodergard, & Totterman, 2008, p. 352). It has been argued that new knowledge in this area is important to the development of strategies designed to support informal learning activities (Mills, Knezek & Khaddage 2014, p. 333). These include challenges regarding the transfer of tacit knowledge.

There are two key findings from the study explored in this paper. The first is related to the various roles an online platform may play in the facilitation of tacit knowledge sharing, and the second to the support of social interactions online. More importantly, this research reveals that all four aspects of the concept of Ba (or ‘space’), as noted by Nonaka and Konno (1998), can be found in online environments.
The findings shared here encourage renewed consideration of the concept of Ba to take into account the use of online tools that facilitate social interactions. In particular, it invites detailed investigation of social media that were unavailable when the concept of Ba was first proposed in the late 1990s.

Further research, including analysis of data from follow-up interviews with members of the cohort that completed the survey, will extend consideration of the findings presented here. This larger study responds to calls for the two domains of knowledge management and human information behaviour to be considered together in terms of research approaches and theory development (Halbwirth & Olsson, 2007).

  • Type:

    Conference Paper (unpublished)

  • Date:

    27 June 2017

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    Z665 Library Science. Information Science

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    020 Library & information sciences

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Buunk, I., Hall, H. & Smith, C. (2017, June). Tacit knowledge sharing in online environments: locating “Ba” within a platform for public sector professionals. Paper presented at i3 - information, interactions and impact, Aberdeen, Scotland



Information behavior, knowledge sharing,

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