Date of Conferral
Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)
Baby boomer employees who leave the workplace without sharing tacit knowledge create a knowledge gap within the organization. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore strategies local government leaders use to retain tacit knowledge of baby boomer employees. Six government leaders who worked in the Midwest United States participated in the study and shared their experiences and perceptions. Building upon systems theory, transformational leadership theory, and knowledge management theory, research was conducted to identify strategies to retain tacit knowledge from retiring baby boomers. Physical artifacts and participant interview data were collected and analyzed using traditional text analysis. Adjoining terms were highlighted and clusters of repeated and related words were coded into themes. Three themes emerged: (a) mentoring, (b) generational differences, and (c) lack of structured systems. Mentoring was the most critical strategy leaders used to retain tacit knowledge from baby boomer employees. Acquiring collaborative leaders who foster a knowledge-sharing environment, create a structured system for retaining knowledge, and encourage communication between multigenerational teams remained imperative to retain tacit knowledge. Implications for positive social change include taking advantage of the human capital and resources the baby boomer population characterized, and educating other government leaders to improve performance within government agencies. Other social change implications include the potential of leaders to train older workers to share tacit knowledge with new workers, and of managers to incorporate strategies to mentor new workers replacing the older workforce.