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Interview subject matter experts as a technique for knowledge management

Talent Mgt. Mag., July 2007 at 44, discusses strengths and limitations of ten techniques to elicit and exchange knowledge. The first technique on the list is “subject-matter expert interviews.” Although I have not heard of a law department that conducts such interviews, they certainly make sense to me (See my post of Feb. 25, 2007: video recordings to capture knowledge.).

The strengths of interviews are that they (1) capture directly what the expert says, (2) can trigger tacit knowledge that might otherwise remain unexpressed, and (3) can link to documents. Limitations include (1) “bandwidth and search limitations can prevent effective dissemination” [which presumably means that people can’t find the interview material] and (2) interviews take place outside the context of the job [which presumably suggests that the knowledge extracted is less practical or relevant].