Using tacit knowledge in training and accident prevention

Emmanuel Aboagye-Nimo, Ani Raiden, Andrew King, Susanne Tietze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Tacit knowledge plays an invaluable role in construction and has been labelled as the ‘most strategically important resource’ in organisations. Microconstruction firms rely heavily on the tacit knowledge acquired by their workers when managing site safety. Unfortunately, the importance of this knowledge is sometimes overlooked due to its inexpressible and informal nature. This paper investigates how microconstruction firms use tacit knowledge to prevent accidents on site, thereby improving overall site safety. An ethnographic approach was used to gather rich in-depth qualitative data on the practices of these ‘hard-to-reach’ microconstruction firms. Five case studies were conducted in the East Midlands region of the UK. Findings from the case studies suggest that workers of microconstruction firms use tacit knowledge in areas such as training newcomers and also identifying and managing imminent risks and dangers on site. Additionally, tacit knowledge plays an important role in safety communications among the workers of these microfirms; it helps establish shared understanding and a common sense of achieving their goals. This research sheds light on an underexplored area of the construction industry, which is arguably crucial in preventing accidents and ensuring the well-being of site workers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-240
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers: Management, Procurement and Law
Volume168
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2015

Keywords

  • education & training
  • health & safety
  • knowledge management

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