Effective management of knowledge assets is key to surviving in today’s competitive
business environment. This is particularly true for large organisations, where employees
have difficulties identifying where or with whom the knowledge lies. Expertise is one of
the most important knowledge assets and largely resides in the heads of employees.
Many attempts have been made to help locate employees with the right expertise;
however, the existing systems (often referred to as expertise finding systems) carry
several flaws. In organisations, there are several potential sources where expertise
evidence might be found. These sources have been used by the existing approaches to
profile employees’ expertise. Unfortunately, there has been limited research showing
whether these sources contain useful evidence of expertise. Moreover, the majority of
existing approaches have not been designed to integrate with the organisations’ work
practices; nor have they investigated the socio-ethical challenges associated with the
adoption of such systems. Therefore, there is a need for expert finding systems that
utilise useful sources of expertise and integrate into existing work practices. Through
industry involvement, this research has explored and validated email content as a source
for expertise profiling. This thesis provides an overview of the traditional and current
approaches to expertise finding. The development and implementation of the EKE (Email
Knowledge Extraction) system which tries to overcome the aforementioned challenges is
presented. EKE has been evaluated by end-users from both industry and academia. The
evaluation results suggest that EKE is a useful system that encourages participation, and
that in many cases may assist in the management of knowledge within organisations.
A dissertation thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of
the degree Doctor of Engineering (EngD), at Loughborough University.