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A design approach for process-based knowledge management systems

Surendra Sarnikar (Department of Management, California State University East Bay, Hayward, California, USA)
Amit V. Deokar (Department of Operations and Information Systems Department, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 10 July 2017




This paper presents a design approach for process-based knowledge management (PKM) systems that can support knowledge-intensive processes where effective task execution is highly reliant on the knowledge and expertise of participants executing the tasks. The proposed design approach includes design methods and kernel theories governing the design of PKM systems and can also be easily integrated with existing systems analysis and design techniques.


The design science research methodology is used to design and develop the artifact which includes the overall PKM design approach. Information systems design theory is used as a high-level framework to develop and structure the design approach. Relevant design methods and behavioral theories are reviewed to identify kernel theories that guide the design and development of PKM systems. The design approach consists of meta-requirements for PKM systems and design processes to achieve the meta-requirements. A feasibility study is conducted to evaluate the feasibility of the proposed approach.


The design approach presented in this paper can guide system analysts and system developers in the design of knowledge management systems for supporting knowledge-intensive processes. The paper also includes a comprehensive design theory for PKM systems consisting of meta-requirements and a synthesis of various kernel theories into actionable design procedures. The proposed procedures include knowledge requirements modeling, knowledge flows modeling and knowledge and process performance modeling procedures. The feasibility study indicates that the PKM approach can be more useful and effective than solely using unified modeling language (UML)-based systems analysis and design techniques for the design of PKM systems.

Research limitations/implications

An implication to information systems design research is the feasibility of developing a specialized design approach that incorporates significant domain knowledge to solve complex information system design problems. An implication to practice is the significant potential to improve productivity and effectiveness of systems analysts and designers in developing PKM systems. A limitation is the small sample size of the feasibility study used to evaluate the ease of use and utility of the design approach.


The study makes a unique contribution by proposing a design approach that integrates business process and knowledge management considerations. The approach is particularly valuable because of the focus on integration with existing systems analysis and design techniques, thus allowing for easier adoption.



Sarnikar, S. and Deokar, A.V. (2017), "A design approach for process-based knowledge management systems", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 693-717.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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