Lobstermen

Date: 
1996
Location: 
Casco Bay, Maine
Running time: 
16 minutes
Subjects: 
Lobster fishers -- Maine
Knowledge management
Tacit knowledge
Competition
Teaching Notes: 

George Johnson has been a lobsterman on the coast of Maine for more than 40 years. He is of the most successful lobster fishers in his community. His son Carl sometimes works the "back of the boat" while he pilots. Paul Goodman films the father-and-son team on their boat as they set up and remove some of their 1,500 traps.

This video was shot with the intention to show lobstermen’s work and attitudes, but its main themes turned out to be decision making and knowledge sharing. At the start of interview, George describes how he enjoys the freedom of being on the water and the experience of turning hard work into successful results. The rest of the video centers on strategic decisions at work. George, an expert in his field, knows by experience exactly when and where to set and remove traps for better yields. However, much of his knowledge is tacit in nature, that is, he finds it difficult to articulate it and pass it down to his son. Carl also describes how competitors have tried to imitate his father without replicating his success.

See also: Lobstermen II: Global Positioning System.