Examples of Knowledge Sharing Systems

Knowledge Sharing Systems support the process through which explicit or tacit knowledge is communicated to other individuals. These systems are also referred to as knowledge repositories.

The two types of explicit knowledge sharing systems most widely discussed in the KM literature are:

  • lessons learned and
  • expertise locator systems.

Systems that support tacit knowledge sharing are those typically utilized by communities of practice.

Corporate Memory (also known as an organizational memory) is made up of the aggregate intellectual assets of an organization.
It is the combination of both explicit and tacit knowledge. The loss of Corporate Memory often results from a lack of appropriate technologies for the organization and exchange of documents. Another contributing factor to the loss of corporate memory is the departure of employees because of either turnover or retirement. KM is concerned with developing applications that will prevent the loss of corporate memory.

Knowledge sharing systems are classified according to their attributes

  • Incident report databases
  • Alert systems
  • Best practices databases
  • Lessons-learned systems
  • Expertise locator systems

Incident report databases are used to disseminate information related to incidents or malfunctions. Incident reports typically describe the incident together with explanations of the incident, although they may not suggest any recommendations.

Alert systems were originally intended to disseminate information about a negative experience that has occurred or is expected to occur. Alert systems could be used to report problems experienced with technology, such as an alert system that issues recalls for consumer products.

Best practices databases describe successful efforts, typically from the reengineering of business processes that could be applicable to organizational processes. Best practices differ from lessons learned in that they capture only succesful events, which may not be dervied from experience.

The goal of lessons-learned systems is to capture and provide lessons that can benefit employees who encounter situations that closely resemble a previous experience in a similar situation. LLS could be pure repositories of lessons or be sometimes intermixed with other sources of information.

Expertise-Locator Systems are knowlege repositories that attempt to organize knowledge by identifying experts who possess specific knowledge. Expertise locator systems are also known as expert directories, expertise directories, skill directories, skills catalogues, white pages or yellow pages.


Basic source for this text is: Becerra-Fernandez, I. and Sabherwal, R. (2010). Knowledge Management: Systems and Processes. Armonk (N.Y.); London : M.E. Sharpe.



Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 3.0 License

Sirje Virkus, Tallinn University, 2011