How poetry enhances development of explicit organizational knowledge


In this article, I have in depth described how poetry can be closely related to accessing our tacit knowledge, which in our business world can bring us lot of advantage. Tacit knowledge is represented by all our skills that are not only shaped by our education, but mostly through our life conditions, environment, culture, ext. We could say that tacit knowledge is everything undefined, inexplicable, unknown yet perceived knowledge by one person – usually rooted deeply in the subconsciousness and its largely based on any internalized information.

In the paper “Cooking up a storm: Flavoring organizational learning with poetry” author Grisoni L., argues that poetry can go a step further and actually

create a fusion between tangible, rational and explicit knowledge and tacit or implicit knowledge, providing opportunities to access new organizational knowledge; emotional richness, texture and flavored nuance to organizational knowledge and learning.”

In the mentioned paper, poetry is used as a creative research method and as such it contributes to development of new forms of knowledge. Poetry reveals what is hidden, beneath the ordinary organizational behavior, procedures and policies.

The case study for the paper is based on a group of 60 middle and senior managers from a single organization and they were asked to form small groups of three, share their stories and experiences from their working environment. Listeners would capture key words from these stories and together the small group would develop short poems using the haiku poetic form.

Here are some of the presented haikus:

Change risk move frightened

Thought safe, hidden fear revealed

Moved, sparkling sunshine

Ongoing concern – always

People in need, a start

Towards positive change!

Member of team

Develop role, career

Encouraged, valued.

After successful presentation of hauikus, conclusions that emerged are that working with poetry holds the potential to capture emotion and express the un-sayable with passion, truth and intensity. It provides a supportive underpinning to discussions relating to emotions, which form an important part of the organizational learning literature, surfacing and facilitating dialogue about these issues in a way that other processes may not access.

What’s also interesting is that we do create explicit form of knowledge where our skilled performance is  delivered in new ways through social interaction. In this research paper has been shown that poetry is a wonderful medium for doing that. But, how else can poetry help us in business setting? Any thoughts? Please share in the comments below.


Now that I know
That passion warms little
Of flesh in the mold,
And treasure is brittle,
I’ll lie here and learn
How, over their ground,
Trees make a long shadow
And a light sound.
Louise Bogan

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4 thoughts on “How poetry enhances development of explicit organizational knowledge

  1. This I like very very much. I guess the idea of tacit knowledge is something similar to what we call intuition, but what I tend to understand – maybe I’m wrong to – as simply misunderstood capabilities to process data we’re not consciously aware of, or are able to overtly point to. Lovely ideas to lever poetry for business. Lovely ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The research tried to prove that our tacit knowledge, once accessed and evoked by social interactions give us new insights about ourselves and our environment – which leads basically to learning and acquiring knowledge. And I think poetry is such a lovely medium to break tension and rigid business relations. It’s such a pity is not really more present as form of arts-based learning in organizations. But that is also one of the reasons I like to promote it so much 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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