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Knowledge management solutions for the leaving expert issue

Josef Hofer‐Alfeis (Josef Hofer‐Alfeis is based at Amontis Consulting AG, Munich, Germany.)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 18 July 2008




The leaving expert (LX) is often regarded only as an issue for the retention of his or her knowledge for the business or organization. The purpose of this paper is to show that a more comprehensive knowledge perspective reveals various issues and leads to different knowledge management (KM) remedies.


The paper approaches the topic from an instruments or process aspect as well as from a case study view. One of the remedies is described in depth based on considerable application experience: the Leaving Expert Debriefing, a planning and knowledge transfer process. The general approach of prophylaxis and/or bridgeover by excellent KM is also taken into consideration with an overview on useful KM detail processes or instruments.


The Leaving Expert Debriefing process based on a comprehensive perspective of knowledge has proven to be a useful planning and knowledge transfer instrument, especially when applied early enough. On the other hand, continuously furthered good KM solutions and processes considerably reduce risks in LX issues.

Practical implications

The paper offers many details, for the most part based on practical experience on how to successfully apply the Leaving Expert Debriefing process and what else KM can also contribute.


The Leaving Expert Debriefing process is described in detail showing that various knowledge transfer and development actions for the different forms of knowledge have to be defined and focused on strategically business‐critical knowledge areas. It is positioned as one of many KM remedies for the LX issue. Two quite different real‐life LX cases and KM applications for them are described: the LX as a knowledge vault versus a node in a knowledge network.



Hofer‐Alfeis, J. (2008), "Knowledge management solutions for the leaving expert issue", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 44-54.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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