are you looking for what are the types of knowledge and examples? do you want to know their importance in order to apply them in the workplace? If you are already here, it is because you recognize the importance of developing diverse ways of thinking and understanding the world. And one of the great reasons to do so is because it will bring you more than one solution to your professional life.
Knowledge is one of the most important treasures that human beings have. Oxford Languages defines it as “the faculty of human beings to understand by means of reason the nature,ƒ qualities and relations of things”.
Through knowledge, it is possible to set goals, achieve ambitious objectives, overcome challenges, grow in trajectory and experience, among other issues that make a professional being.
That is why, in this article, we will see what knowledge is for, what are the types of knowledge and examples of each one. Don’t worry, we know there are a lot of them! But we will focus on the most important ones and the ways in which you can apply them in your day-to-day life.
And before we start, let go of all your old prejudices and remember Socrates’ famous quote: “I only know that I know nothing”.
1. Empirical knowledge
The first type of knowledge and example we will talk about is empirical knowledge. It probably resonates with you because it is one of the best known and is based on direct observation.
In case you are wondering what empirical knowledge is, it is a type of knowledge that is closely linked to personal experience . Observation and experimentation are two key aspects of it. Of course, it depends on each subject, his history and beliefs, for the interpretation of phenomena.
The easiest way to understand what this kind of knowledge is when we imagine laboratory studies and their “Eureka” moment. However, it is important to point out that there is no such thing as pure experience, but that we understand the world from a paradigm and thus interpret the facts that happen.
But precisely what distinguishes empirical knowledge from other types of knowledge is that we seek to know from what is there, from experience with matter, and not from theory. There are two ways of knowing empirically:
Particular: it applies to specific cases of reality, without the possibility of being attributed to all situations.
Contingent: it applies to a particular object.
In this type of knowledge, we understand that the senses of perception, trial, error and testing are the key elements that allow us to know something.
Example of empirical knowledge at work
When thinking of an example of this type of knowledge, we must think of people interacting with another person or some object. We can also understand it as field knowledge, that is, knowledge that is produced in situ .
For example, let’s suppose we are part of an interdisciplinary work team, which needs to go deeper into this or that subject. For this purpose, an expert in the field is called in to share his or her knowledge directly with the rest of the team. Thus, when a member of the corporate organization makes a group presentation, the rest of the team must remain silent, paying attention and experimenting directly with the phenomenon.
2. Intuitive knowledge
Another type of knowledge and examples that you have to know is intuitive knowledge. Here what prevails is the association of ideas. It does not require a direct verification of the veracity of what is believed in this type of knowledge.
It is knowledge that does not require a rational process, analysis or research, but arises from an internal and unconscious process, better known as intuition. This type of knowledge is strongly linked to creativity and immediacy.
From a traditional point of view, it is not considered a valid way of knowing, since it has no scientific basis, but when it comes to solving problems it is equally or more effective than other types of knowledge.
As you can imagine, this does not mean that we learn by magic. What happens with intuitive knowledge is that our brain performs similarity processes with past situations, by concatenating similar factors, and draws a conclusion about the problem.
Example of intuitive knowledge in the workplace
As we mentioned above, this type of knowledge appears in moments of pressure that require quick action to modify the course of the situation. Doesn’t this scenario remind you of more than one workday?
Knowing when a teammate is nervous and creating an innovative solution at the right time is practicing intuitive knowledge. It will help you to be able to help them and increase productivity and confidence in the work area. Even through this type of knowledge, you can know when a team member is angry, so you can act ahead of time.
The subject of conflicts and how to manage them requires experience and certain skills, starting from intuition to detect this in time before it becomes a time bomb. In this regard, our teacher Maia Mazar from the conflict management tools course, pointed out the following:
“Effective performance in your job depends on how you deal with conflict. Conflict is a concept that we usually avoid because it scares or stresses us. But by understanding it, we can use it to our advantage.
3. Philosophical knowledge
The third of the types of knowledge and examples we will now look at is philosophical knowledge. This type of knowledge is based on an awareness of the importance of critical and reflective thinking. It is a way of understanding the concepts on which we build theories.
This type of knowledge is an accumulated body of knowledge that humanity has formulated throughout history. Its main purpose is to understand existence and the human being as such. What characterizes philosophical thought is its purely rational character, i.e., it is not guided by a specific method, verifications or experiments, but by the mere habit of thinking.
We can say that philosophical knowledge is any kind of thinking that seeks to arrive at the truth. And in everyday life, we apply it in moments of deep reflection, in which we conclude on a subject to which we dedicate some time in our minds. Likewise, this type of knowledge is divided into several branches on which we can theorize:
Philosophy of language
Example of philosophical knowledge in the workplace
Although practicing philosophical thinking on a daily basis is very complicated in relation to the times we live in today, we can find an example of this type of knowledge in key moments of an organization or business: the beginnings and the fundamental bases of it.
The philosophy of a company is very important to guide all actions under the framework of a belief system. Thus, the company’s vision, mission and values must be coherent with its actions and products.
4. Scientific knowledge
Scientific knowledge is one of the types of knowledge and examples that we find most often in the workplace. This type of knowledge is related to logic and the implementation of different scientific methods to explain phenomena and reality.
In this sense, we understand scientific knowledge as knowledge that is produced according to the steps contemplated by the scientific method. Among the most important steps is that of verification with the phenomena of nature .
In addition, scientific knowledge is based on experimentation, observation and analysis in a systematic and orderly manner, and very rigorous procedures are followed to ensure that the results and conclusions are valid and objective. It is also very important to emphasize that one of the keys to this type of knowledge is that it can be refuted in the future, as long as this change in the theory is evidenced.
Example of scientific knowledge at work
This type of knowledge is based on research, carried out under an adequate procedure, and is necessary for the production of knowledge that facilitates decision making. Therefore, its application in the labor field is important in all those moments when we seek to support a strategic decision or follow a certain methodology to achieve a particular goal.
It also works as the fundamental basis of many businesses that need this type of knowledge to function, for example, from an energy production plant to a digital marketing company that does market research.
5. Mathematical knowledge
are you one of those who hates numbers or, on the contrary, you have taken a liking to them and now you can’t live without them? Mathematical knowledge is one of the types of knowledge that are important to take into account and apply in working life .
This type of knowledge is based exclusively on working with numbers and mathematical formulas or operations that translate into logical reasoning. In addition, mathematical thinking invites us to achieve one of the most complex actions that the mind can perform: abstraction.
That is, it is not only used to solve simple mathematical problems such as addition or subtraction, but also to understand the importance of order, hierarchy, chronology and complex systems.
Example of mathematical knowledge at work
As you can imagine, this type of knowledge allows you to make relevant calculations for decision making applied in finance or even marketing. But also thanks to this knowledge, it is possible to reach more abstract conclusions such as reducing the margin of error.
6. Emotional knowledge
how well do you know yourself and your emotions? Emotional knowledge is one of the types of knowledge and examples that is relevant to take into account in daily life. This type of knowledge has to do with knowing our tastes and reactions. In turn, the emotional knowledge of others allows us to establish social relationships where empathy and collaboration mediate.
Popularly, this discipline is known as emotional intelligence, that is, the ability to understand and identify our emotions, what causes them and how to control them. As well as those of the people around us.
Some of the key aspects of this type of knowledge are:
Understanding one’s own emotions
Recognizing the emotions of others
Practicing assertive communication and active listening
Generating empathy with those around me
Identify problems and generate possible solutions
Example of emotional awareness at work
Surely you have already imagined more than one situation in which possessing certain tools of this type of knowledge can be useful in the work environment. Essentially, it is key for those teams that need interpersonal relationships to achieve their objectives. An example of this type of thinking is recognizing when a team member is going through this or that personal moment and how this influences work.
7. Logical knowledge
Logical knowledge is another of the types of knowledge and examples that we will discuss below. This type of knowledge uses rules of reasoning to reach a conclusion from preceding premises and is 100% rational.
Its main method of arriving at knowledge is deductive. However, today we know that there are issues that cannot be derived from this procedure, but must be combined with other types of knowledge to be useful.
Example of logical knowledge at work
This type of knowledge is ideal for situations where you already have the evidence at hand but need to develop some argumentation to support your theory in a very formal work meeting. It will be the fundamental key to any debate or testing of thought.
8. Public knowledge
Public knowledge is one of the most overflowing types of knowledge and examples in everyday life. This type of knowledge is linked to the dissemination of knowledge among many groups that make up society as a whole.
It is generally used in situations shared by a large group of people or several groups, and refers to force majeure situations that do not need much explanation to be understood.
Example of public knowledge in labor
In recent years, due to public knowledge reasons related to the pandemic, most organizations are opting for 100% remote work. And this type of knowledge brings new daily practices in the work environment, such as, for example, the use of masks in enclosed spaces.
9. Systems knowledge
Systems knowledge is another type of knowledge and examples that we will delve into in this article. This type of knowledge is linked to the elaboration of systems with individual elements, which combine to form such a system.
They are key to the search for innovative solutions to complex situations that rely on a series of individual elements and their correlations. This type of knowledge requires a certain expertise in a subject, and the ability to build new products or services in pursuit of an objective.
Example of systems knowledge at work
A clear example is that of programming or architecture, which work permanently with systems to be able to carry out their work in the development of software or living spaces. But so is a communication system specially designed for a particular organization.
10. Procedural knowledge
Another type of knowledge that must be taken into account is the procedural knowledge or tacit knowledge, which allows a person to know how to do something, even though at a theoretical level there is no knowledge .
Also known as “Know How” or “Know How”, this type of knowledge refers to the knowledge of a particular task, without the need to understand how the whole process works in detail. In these cases, people know perfectly the steps and methods to achieve such an objective, but this does not mean that they know why these steps are taken or what causes them.
Example of procedural knowledge at work
It is generally applied to the management of new problems in a professional field in which a lot of experience has already been acquired. It has to do with protocols or procedures that are given in the face of certain problems.
To put you in situation: just today the IT department is not working and the printer is broken, so who do you go to? Surely you will call that person in your office who, without being a printer expert, knows the procedure to make it work. That’s what this style of knowledge is all about.
11. Declarative knowledge
Continuing with this list of types of knowledge and examples, we find declarative knowledge. This is knowledge in which a person claims to know certain theoretical information about a certain subject. This may or may not be verified later, but from his point of view the information has been organized and expressed as if it were a truth.
Unlike procedural knowledge, this type of knowledge is based on ideas, facts and concepts.
Example of declarative knowledge at work
In a results meeting, an employee presents the closing numbers to the board of directors in a convincing and confident manner without the need to demonstrate the sources of his knowledge.
12. Indirect knowledge
Indirect knowledge, another of the types of knowledge and examples we will see today, is based on learning or knowing something, without having direct access to the object of study;it is one of the most common in social life, since it allows knowing part of the subject without even having a direct experience with it.
Example of indirect knowledge at work
In work environments, they are all those things that you learn by interacting with your teammates, without the final objective of knowing them by yourself. For example, the use of a device or tool.
13. Private knowledge
Unlike the public knowledge we saw earlier, private knowledge is based on personal experiences or beliefs, which are usually expressed in a reserved way.
Example of private knowledge at work
When generating certain bonds with work colleagues, it is normal that a relationship that goes beyond work-related issues begins to take root. You probably know when your deskmate’s birthday is, or you know how many children your morning coffee partner has: that’s what this type of private knowledge is all about.
Not only is this kind of knowledge unavoidable in the workplace, but it’s also necessary to foster teamwork (even if the rules of the game have changed a bit lately with remote work).
what are knowledge types for?
With this list of knowledge types and examples, surely you already have a clearer picture. Now, what is the importance of the types of knowledge? According to Harvard Business Review, companies that isolate knowledge management run the risk of losing its benefits.
Knowing the importance of knowledge will allow you to evolve in all aspects of your life, especially in the workplace. The amount of benefits is very wide, so here we will name the main ones. Let’s see what they are:
1. Being more empathetic
By knowing the types of knowledge and their examples, you can be more empathetic because you can put yourself in “the other’s shoes” or, simply, in their place. This is useful to understand the way others see the world, which may be very different from the one you have.
This skill is key for the workplace, especially for leadership positions, because it allows you to come up with more fruitful team or individual strategies. Also, this skill is essential for teamwork.
2. Thinking from several angles
If you know the types of knowledge, you can think of solutions from different angles. This broadens the range of possible responses to very challenging contexts, which are often encountered daily in the business world.
3. Promoting personal productivity
In line with the above, knowing what are the types of knowledge and examples allows you to motivate yourself and be more productive. Let’s say that, starting from the fact that you have the will to learn about this topic, it is already an indication that you are predisposed to acquire new learning.
Now that you know perfectly what are the types of knowledge and examples of each case, how about reviewing our soft skills courses and acquire new skills? Then you’ll be on the right track! You will make your mark in all your jobs.
As we have seen, knowing what are the types of knowledge and examples of application in the working world represents many advantages to make the workday more enjoyable and the objectives can be achieved thanks to teamwork.
we hope you will apply some of these types of knowledge in your work group!