Where does all the ‘know how’ go? The role of tacit knowledge in research impact

Vincent Wayne Mitchell, William S. Harvey, Geoffrey Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (SciVal)


Higher Education Institutions are increasingly called upon to demonstrate their real world impact, which, in many instances, remains elusive. We believe this is partly due to the under-counting and under-estimation of the importance of tacit knowledge by researchers and regulators. We propose this as a missing contingency in the research–impact relationship. To better acknowledge and utilize tacit research knowledge in the impact process, we emphasize processes of praxis, reflexivity and dialogical sense-making, which help externalize implicit tacit knowledge, and socialization processes, which facilitate enactment, emulation and feedback to develop inherent tacit knowledge. Examples from management research are used to exemplify these processes. The implications of accepting the importance of tacit knowledge in creating impact call for changes in how researchers, universities, funders, assessors and governments, fund, create and assess real world research impact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1664-1678
Number of pages15
JournalHigher Education Research and Development
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022


  • explicit knowledge
  • measurement
  • processes
  • Research impact
  • tacit knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Where does all the ‘know how’ go? The role of tacit knowledge in research impact'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this