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Seven Principles for Cultivating Communities of Practice

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Although communities of practice develop organically, a carefully crafted design can drive their evolution. In this excerpt from a new book, the authors detail seven design principles. The payoff? Knowledge management that works. Seven principles for cultivating communities of practice In Silicon Valley, a community of circuit designers meets for a lively debate about the merits of two different designs developed by one of the participants. Huddling together over the circuit diagrams, they analyze possible faults, discuss issues of efficiency, propose alternatives, tease out each other's assumptions, and make the case for their view. In Boston, a group of social workers who staff a help line meet to discuss knotty client problems, express sympathy as they discuss difficulties, probe to understand each other's feelings, and gently offer suggestions. Their meetings are often deeply challenging and sometimes highly emotional. The fact-driven, sometimes argumentative, meetings of the Silicon Valley circuit designers are extremely different from the compassionate meetings of the social workers in Boston. But despite their differences, the circuit designers' and social workers' communities are both vibrant and full of life. Their energy is palpable to both the regular participants and visitors. Because communities of practice are voluntary, what makes them successful over time is their ability to generate enough excitement, relevance, and value to attract and engage members. Although many factors, such as management support or an urgent problem, can inspire a community, nothing can substitute for this sense of aliveness. How do you design for aliveness? Certainly you cannot contrive or dictate it. You cannot design it in the traditional sense of specifying a structure or process and then implementing it. Still, aliveness does not always happen automatically. Many natural communities never grow beyond a network of friends because they fail to attract enough participants. Many intentional communities fall apart soon after their initial launch because they don't have enough energy to sustain themselves. Communities, unlike teams and other structures, need to invite the interaction that makes them alive. For example, a park is more appealing to use if its location provides a short cut between destinations. It invites people to sit for lunch or chat if it has benches set slightly off the main path, visible, but just out of earshot, next to something interesting like a flower bed or a patch of sunlight. 1 The structure of organizational relationships and events also invite a kind of interaction. Meetings that contain some open time during a break or lunch, with enough space for people to mingle or confer privately, invite one-on-one discussion and relationship building. Just as a good park has varied spaces for neighborhood baseball games, quiet chats, or The goal of community design is to bring out the community's own internal direction, character, and energy.
Cultivating Communities of Practice: A
Guide to Managing Knowledge - Seven
Principles for Cultivating Communities of
Practice
3/25/2002
In a new book, Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge, the
authors offer a practical guide to making knowledge work inside an organization. In this excerpt,
the authors detail seven design principles for cultivating communities, everything from "design
for evolution" to "combine familiarly and excitement."
by Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott, and William M. Snyder
Seven principles for cultivating communities of practice
In Silicon Valley, a community of circuit designers meets for a lively
debate about the merits of two different designs developed by one of the
participants. Huddling together over the circuit diagrams, they analyze
possible faults, discuss issues of efficiency, propose alternatives, tease out
each other's assumptions, and make the case for their view. In Boston, a
group of social workers who staff a help line meet to discuss knotty client
problems, express sympathy as they discuss difficulties, probe to
understand each other's feelings, and gently offer suggestions. Their
meetings are often deeply challenging and sometimes highly emotional.
The fact-driven, sometimes argumentative, meetings of the Silicon Valley circuit designers are
extremely different from the compassionate meetings of the social workers in Boston. But
despite their differences, the circuit designers' and social workers' communities are both vibrant
and full of life. Their energy is palpable to both the regular
participants and visitors.
Because communities of practice are voluntary, what makes
them successful over time is their ability to generate
enough excitement, relevance, and value to attract and
engage members. Although many factors, such as
management support or an urgent problem, can inspire a
community, nothing can substitute for this sense of
aliveness.
The goal of community design is
to bring out the community's own
internal direction, character, and
energy.
Cultivating Communities of
Practice
How do you design for aliveness? Certainly you cannot contrive or dictate it.
You cannot design it in the traditional sense of specifying a structure or process
and then implementing it. Still, aliveness does not always happen
automatically. Many natural communities never grow beyond a network of
friends because they fail to attract enough participants. Many intentional
communities fall apart soon after their initial launch because they don't have
enough energy to sustain themselves. Communities, unlike teams and other
structures, need to invite the interaction that makes them alive. For example, a
park is more appealing to use if its location provides a short cut between
destinations. It invites people to sit for lunch or chat if it has benches set slightly off the main
path, visible, but just out of earshot, next to something interesting like a flower bed or a patch of
sunlight. 1 The structure of organizational relationships and events also invite a kind of
interaction. Meetings that contain some open time during a break or lunch, with enough space for
people to mingle or confer privately, invite one-on-one discussion and relationship building. Just
as a good park has varied spaces for neighborhood baseball games, quiet chats, or solitary
contemplation, a well-designed community of practice allows for participating in group
discussion, having one-on-one conversations, reading about new ideas, or watching experts duel
over cutting-edge issues. Even though communities are voluntary and organic, good community
design can invite, even evoke, aliveness.
Designing to evoke aliveness is different from most
organizational design, which traditionally focuses on
creating structures, systems, and roles that achieve
relatively fixed organizational goals and fit well with other
structural elements of the organization. Even when
organizations are designed to be flexible and responsive to
their environment, organic growth and aliveness are
typically not primary design goals. 2 For communities of
practice, however, they are paramount, even though
communities also need to contribute to organizational goals. Designing for aliveness requires a
different set of design principles. The goal of community design is to bring out the community's
own internal direction, character, and energy. The principles we developed to do this focus on
the dilemmas at the heart of designing communities of practice. What is the role of design for a
"human institution" that is, by definition, natural, spontaneous, and self-directed? How do you
guide such an institution to realize itself, to become "alive?" From our experience we have
derived seven principles:
1. Design for evolution.
2. Open a dialogue between inside and outside perspectives.
3. Invite different levels of participation.
4. Develop both public and private community spaces.
5. Focus on value.
6. Combine familiarity and excitement.
7. Create a rhythm for the community.
Good community design requires
an insider's perspective to lead the
discovery of what the community
is about
Cultivating Communities of
Practice
These design principles are not recipes, but rather embody our understanding of how elements of
design work together. They reveal the thinking behind a design. Making design principles
explicit makes it possible to be more flexible and improvisational.
1. Design for evolution
Because communities of practice are organic, designing them is more a matter of shepherding
their evolution than creating them from scratch. Design elements should be catalysts for a
community's natural evolution. As they develop, communities usually build on preexisting
personal networks. For example, when Schlumberger launched a series of communities of
practice in its research division, most people were already part of networks connected through
the company's extensive bulletin board system.
The dynamic nature of communities is key to their evolution. As the community grows, new
members bring new interests and may pull the focus of the community in different directions.
Changes in the organization influence the relative importance of the community and place new
demands on it. For example, an IT community that was only marginally important to an
organization suddenly became critical as the company discovered the potential of a few e-
business pilots. Changes in the core science or technology of a community constantly reshape it,
often bringing in professionals from neighboring disciplines or introducing technological
advances that change their way of working. Because communities are built on existing networks
and evolve beyond any particular design, the purpose of a design is not to impose a structure but
to help the community develop.
Community design is much more like life-long learning than traditional organization design.
"Alive" communities reflect on and redesign elements of themselves throughout their existence.
Community design often involves fewer elements at the beginning than does a traditional
organization design. In one case, the coordinator and core members had many ideas of what the
community could become. Rather than introduce those ideas to the community as a whole, they
started with a very simple structure of regular weekly meetings. They did not capture meeting
notes, put up a Web site, or speculate with the group on "where this is going." Their first goal
was to draw potential members to the community. Once people were engaged in the topic and
had begun to build relationships, the core members began introducing other elements of
community structuresuch as a Web site, links to other communities, projects to define key
practicesone at a time. 5
The key to designing for evolution is to combine design elements in a way that catalyzes
community development. Physical structuressuch as roads and parkscan precipitate the
development of a town. Similarly, social and organizational structures, such as a community
coordinator or problem-solving meetings, can precipitate the evolution of a community. Which
community design elements are most appropriate depends on the community's stage of
development, its environment, member cohesiveness, and the kinds of knowledge it shares. But
evolution is common to all communities, and the primary role of design is to catalyze that
evolution.
2. Open a dialogue between inside and outside perspectives
Good community design requires an insider's perspective to lead the discovery of what the
community is about. When designing teams, we know a team's output requirements in advance
and can design to achieve that output. But effective community design is built on the collective
experience of community members. Only an insider can appreciate the issues at the heart of the
domain, the knowledge that is important to share, the challenges their field faces, and the latent
potential in emerging ideas and techniques. Only an insider can know who the real players are
and their relationships. This requires more than community "input." It requires a deep
understanding of community issues. 6
Good community design requires an understanding of the community's potential to develop and
steward knowledge, but it often takes an outside perspective to help members see the
possibilities. Because intentional communities are new for most organizations, members often
have a hard time imagining how a more developed community could improve upon their current
personal networks or help them leverage dormant capabilities. Good community design brings
information from outside the community into the dialogue about what the community could
achieve. Sometimes this involves educating community members about the role of communities
in other organizations. It might mean bringing an "outsider" into a dialogue with the community
leader and core members as they design the community. As a result of this dialogue, the people
who understand the issues inside the community and have legitimacy within it are also able to
see new possibilities and can effectively act as agents of change. 7
The well-connected leader of a new community on emerging technology was concerned about
how to develop the community when many of the "prima donnas" of the industry were outside
his company. When he saw how a similar community in another organization was structured to
involve outside experts in multiple ways, he started rethinking the potential structure of his own
community. He realized that the key issues in his community were less about technology and
more about the business issues involved in developing the technology. This understanding of the
business perspective of the other community gave him a sharper sense of the strategic potential
of his own.
3. Invite different levels of participation
Good community architecture invites many different levels of participation. Consider the variety
of activities we might find in a city neighborhood on any given day: solitary shoppers, people
walking briskly to work, friends out for a casual stroll, couples chatting at an outdoor cafe, a
crowd watching a street performer. Others are on the periphery, watching the action from the
windows above the street. A community of practice is very similar. People participate in
communities for different reasonssome because the community directly provides value, some
for the personal connection, and others for the opportunity to improve their skills. We used to
think that we should encourage all community members to participate equally. But because
people have different levels of interest in the community, this expectation is unrealistic.
Alive communities, whether planned or spontaneous, have a "coordinator" who organizes events
and connects community. But others in the community also take on leadership roles. We
commonly see three main levels of community participation. The first is a small core group of
people who actively participate in discussions, even debates, in the public community forum.
They often take on community projects, identify topics for the community to address, and move
the community along its learning agenda. This group is the heart of the community. As the
community matures, this core group takes on much of the community's leadership, its members
becoming auxiliaries to the community coordinator. But this group is usually rather small, only
10 to 15 percent of the whole community. At the next level outside this core is the active group.
These members attend meetings regularly and participate occasionally in the community forums,
but without the regularity or intensity of the core group. The active group is also quite small,
another 15 to 20 percent of the community.
A large portion of community members are peripheral and rarely participate. Instead, they keep
to the sidelines, watching the interaction of the core and active members. Some remain
peripheral because they feel that their observations are not appropriate for the whole or carry no
authority. Others do not have the time to contribute more actively. In a traditional meeting or
team we would discourage such half-hearted involvement, but these peripheral activities are an
essential dimension of communities of practice. Indeed, the people on the sidelines often are not
as passive as they seem. Like people sitting at a cafe watching the activity on the street, they gain
their own insights from the discussions and put them to good use. They may have private
conversations about the issues being discussed in the public forum. In their own way, they are
learning a lot. In one community, a peripheral member attended nearly all meetings for two
years, but almost never contributed. Then he was transferred to another division and, to
everyone's surprise, started a similar community there.
Finally, outside these three main levels are people
surrounding the community who are not members but who
have an interest in the community, including customers,
suppliers, and "intellectual neighbors." Community
members move through these levels. 8 Core members
often join the sideline as the topic of the community shifts.
Active members may be deeply engaged for a month or
two, then disengage. Peripheral members drift into the
center as their interests are stirred. Because the boundaries
of a community are fluid, even those outside the community can become quite involved for a
time, as the focus of the community shifts to their areas of interest and expertise. The key to
good community participation and a healthy degree of movement between levels is to design
community activities that allow participants at all levels to feel like full members. Rather than
force participation, successful communities "build benches" for those on the sidelines. They
make opportunities for semiprivate interaction, whether through private discussion rooms on the
community's Web site, at a community event, or in a one-on-one conversation. This keeps the
peripheral members connected. At the same time, communities create opportunities for active
members to take limited leadership roles, such as leading a development project that requires a
minimal time commitment. To draw members into more active participation, successful
communities build a fire in the center of the community that will draw people to its heat.
4. Develop both public and private community spaces
Like a local neighborhood, dynamic communities are rich with connections that happen both in
the public places of the communitymeetings, Web siteand the private spacethe one-on-
one networking of community members. Most communities have public events where
community members gathereither face-to-face or electronicallyto exchange tips, solve
Unlike team members,
community members can offer
advice on a project with no risk of
getting entangled in it…
Cultivating Communities of
Practice
problems, or explore new ideas, tools, and techniques. These events are public in that they are
open to all community members, though they are often closed to people outside the community.
Sometimes they include formal presentations, but most often they are informal discussions of
current problems and issues. Public community events serve a ritualistic as well as a substantive
purpose. Through such events, people can tangibly experience being part of the community and
see who else participates. They can appreciate the level of sophistication the community brings
to a technical discussion, how it rallies around key principles, and the influence it has in the
organization.
As we've emphasized before, communities are much more than their calendar of events. The
heart of a community is the web of relationships among community members, and much of the
day-to-day occurs in one-on-one exchanges. Thus, a common mistake in community design is to
focus too much on public events. A community coordinator needs to "work" the private space
between meetings, dropping in on community members to discuss their current technical
problems and linking them with helpful resources, inside or outside the community. These
informal, "back channel" discussions actually help orchestrate the public space and are key to
successful meetings. They ensure that the spontaneous topics raised at the meetings are valuable
to the whole and that the people attending will have something useful to add. The one-on-one
networking creates a conduit for sharing information with a more limited number of people,
using the coordinator's discretion as a gate. Every phone call, e-mail exchange, or problem-
solving conversation strengthens the relationships within the community. 9
The public and private dimensions of a community are interrelated. When the individual
relationships among community members are strong, the events are much richer. Because
participants know each other well, they often come to community events with multiple agendas:
completing a small group task, thanking someone for an idea, finding someone to help with a
problem. In fact, good community events usually allow time for people to network informally.
Well-orchestrated, lively public events foster one-on-one connections. As one coordinator said,
"I like to see who walks out of the room together, who hangs around and talks. The more new
connections I see, the better the meeting was." The key to designing community spaces is to
orchestrate activities in both public and private spaces that use the strength of individual
relationships to enrich events and use events to strengthen individual relationships. 10
5. Focus on value
Communities thrive because they deliver value to the organization, to the teams on which
community members serve, and to the community members themselves. Value is key to
community life, because participation in most communities is voluntary. But the full value of a
community is often not apparent when it is first formed. Moreover, the source of value often
changes over the life of the community. Frequently, early value mostly comes from focusing on
the current problems and needs of community members. As the community grows, developing a
systematic body of knowledge that can be easily accessed becomes more important.
Rather than attempting to determine their expected value in advance, communities need to create
events, activities, and relationships that help their potential value emerge and enable them to
discover new ways to harvest it. A group of systems engineers thought that sharing project
proposals would be useful. Once they began, however, they discovered that the proposals
themselves were not that helpful. What they needed was the engineers' logic for matching that
software with that hardware and that service plan. This logic, of course, was not explicit in the
proposal. These engineers needed to meet, discuss their proposals, and unveil the logic that held
their systems together.
Many of the most valuable community activities are the small, everyday interactionsinformal
discussions to solve a problem, or one-on-one exchanges of information about a tool, supplier,
approach, or database. The real value of these exchanges may not be evident immediately. When
someone shares an insight, they often don't know how useful it was until the recipient reports
how the idea was applied. The impact of applying an idea can take months to be realized. Thus,
tracing the impact of a shared idea takes time and attention.
In fact, a key element of designing for value is to encourage community members to be explicit
about the value of the community throughout its lifetime. Initially, the purpose of such
discussion is more to raise awareness than collect data, since the impact of the community
typically takes some time to be felt. Later, assessments of value can become more rigorous.
Several months after it started one community made discussing value part of its monthly
teleconferences. Most community members were not able to identify any particular value when
these discussions began, even though they all felt participation was useful. Soon, however, one
community member was able to quantify the value his team gained by applying a new technique
he learned from another member. Another said the real value of the community was more
personal and less quantifiable; he knew who to contact when he had a problem. Once these
examples surfaced, other community members were better able to identify the specific value they
derived from participation. Although people often complain about the difficulty of assessing
community value, such early discussions greatly help community members as well as potential
members and other stakeholders understand the real impact of the community.
6. Combine familiarity and excitement
Successful communities offer the familiar comforts of a hometown, but they also have enough
interesting and varied events to keep new ideas and new people cycling into the community. As
communities mature, they often settle into a pattern of regular meetings, teleconferences,
projects, Web site use, and other ongoing activities. The familiarity of these events creates a
comfort level that invites candid discussions. Like a neighborhood bar or café, a community
becomes a "place" where people have the freedom to ask for candid advice, share their opinions,
and try their half-baked ideas without repercussion. They are places people can drop by to hear
about the latest tool, exchange technical gossip, or just chat about technical issues without fear of
committing to action plans.
Communities of practice are what Ray Oldenberg calls "neutral places," separate from the
everyday work pressures of people's jobs. 11 Unlike team members, community members can
offer advice on a project with no risk of getting entangled in it; they can listen to advice with no
obligation to take it. These are reasons why a group of scientists in a pharmaceutical company,
driven by urgency to develop new products, see their community as a place to think, reflect, and
consider ideas too "soft" for the development teams.
Like a well-planned, challenging conference, vibrant communities also supply divergent thinking
and activity. For example, a community of immunologists invites a controversial speaker to their
annual conference, a Nobel Prize winner whose ideas are respected by the community but
controversial enough to challenge their normal way of thinking. P&G invites its communities to
its science fair, where the latest ideas and inventions are displayed and discussed. Conferences,
fairs, and workshops such as these bring the community together in a special way and thus
facilitate a different kind of spontaneous contact between people. They can provide novelty and
excitement that complements the familiarity of everyday activities.
Lively communities combine both familiar and exciting events so community members can
develop the relationships they need to be well connected as well as generate the excitement they
need to be fully engaged. Routine activities provide the stability for relationship-building
connections; exciting events provide a sense of common adventure.
7. Create a rhythm for the community
Our everyday lives have a rhythm: waking up and preparing for work, commuting, checking e-
mail, attending meetings, commuting home, engaging with kids' activities, enjoying quiet time.
Although there are different rhythms for different people, most of our lives do have a rhythm,
which contributes to its sense of familiarity. Towns also have a rhythm. Take the college town of
Boulder, Colorado. Throughout the year it has a series of monthly festivals: a river festival, a
road race, an arts festival, a Fourth of July celebration, a World Affairs Conference, and a few
festivals whose occasion hardly anyone remembers. Like most towns, it also sponsors numerous
projectsan arts fund drive, clothing for the homeless. These events and community projects
give residents an opportunity to assemble, converse, share opinions, spout off (Boulder's fairs
even have an official soapbox), and have fun together in a way that punctuates the life of the
town. They give the town a beat.
Vibrant communities of practice also have a rhythm. At the heart of a community is a web of
enduring relationships among members, but the tempo of their interactions is greatly influenced
by the rhythm of community events. Regular meetings, teleconferences, Web site activity, and
informal lunches ebb and flow along with the heartbeat of the community. When that beat is
strong and rhythmic, the community has a sense of movement and liveliness. If the beat is too
fast, the community feels breathless; people stop participating because they are overwhelmed.
When the beat is too slow, the community feels sluggish. A community of library scientists had
an annual meeting and a Web site with a threaded discussion. Not surprisingly, six months after
the conference there was very little activity on the Web. An engineering community, on the other
hand, held a biweekly teleconference as well as several focused, face-to-face meetings during the
year. In this community there is typically a flurry of activity on the Web site just before and after
the teleconferences and meetings. The events give the community a beat around which other
activities find their rhythm. 12 Sometimes key projects and special events create milestones for
the community, breaking up the regular rhythm. Members of a community on team development
at the Veterans Benefits Administration traveled to regional offices around the country. They
gave workshops and coached local team members and managers. These office visits made the
community's contribution to the organization visible and marked a major step in the community's
development.
The rhythm of the community is the strongest indicator of its aliveness. There are many rhythms
in a communitythe syncopation of familiar and exciting events, the frequency of private
interactions, the ebb and flow of people from the sidelines into active participation, and the pace
of the community's overall evolution. A combination of whole-community and small-group
gatherings creates a balance between the thrill of exposure to many different ideas and the
comfort of more intimate relationships. A mix of idea-sharing forums and tool-building projects
fosters both casual connections and directed community action. There is no right beat for all
communities, and the beat is likely to change as the community evolves. But finding the right
rhythm at each stage is key to a community's development.
Excerpted with permission from Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing
Knowledge, Harvard Business School Press, 2002.
[ Order this book ]
Related stories in HBS Working Knowledge:
Communities of Practice: The Organizational Frontier
Footnotes:
1. C. Alexander, S. Ishikawa and M. Silverstein, A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings,
Construction (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977), and J. Jacobs, The Death and Life of
Great American Cities (New York: Vintage, 1993)
2. Traditional approaches to organization design have generally focused on the design of formal
systems and structures to address environmental demands, task uncertainty, and individual needs
(J. R. Galbraith, Organization Design [Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1977]), or to leverage the
power of information technology (M. Hammer and J. Champy, Reengineering the Corporation:
A Manifesto for Business Revolution [New York: HarperBusiness, 1993]). While these design
objectives are reasonable and effectively address important problems, Cal Pava noted that they
do not address the dynamic, nonlinear, boundary-spanning nature of knowledge work conducted
by members of "discretionary coalitions." "Redesigning Sociotechnical Systems Design:
Concepts and Methods for the 1990s," The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 22, no. 3
(1986): 207. Historically, a number of scholars have argued for organic metaphors to describe
organizations, including T. Burns and G. M. Stalker, who referred to innovative organizations as
"organic" versus more efficiency-oriented, "mechanistic" organizations (The Management of
Innovation [London: Tavistock, 1961]). Since then many scholars have described organizations
using metaphors or frameworks that describe the "aliveness" of organizations from a variety of
perspectives. F. Capra (The Web of Life: A New Understanding of Living Systems [New York:
Doubleday, 1997]) describes organizations as biological systems; M. J. Wheatley (Leadership
and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World [San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler,
1994]) describes them as systems that are governed by self-organizing principles associated with
complexity and chaos theory; A. P. de Geus (The Living Company [Boston, MA: Harvard
Business School Press, 1997]) argues that learning is the key to sustaining the living
organization; J. C. Collins and J. I. Porras (Built to Last [New York: HarperCollins, 1994])
emphasize the importance of shared values; G. M. Bellman (The Beauty of the Beast [San
Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2000], 53) challenges members to develop organizations that aspire
to life and "regenerate themselves" over many generations. Finally, Dexter Dunphy and Andrew
Griffiths argue that corporations must, in turn, foster both a healthy environment and a vibrant
"human ecosystem" to remain sustainable for the long term. Notably, they state that achieving
such ends depends on a global community of practice to steward the "organizational renewal
movement." The Sustainable Corporation: Organisational [sic] Renewal in Australia (St.
Leonards, Australia: Allen & Unwin, 1998), 202, 204.
3. Christopher Alexander's approach to designing buildings and towns in a way that invites
aliveness and vitality informs much of this approach to community design. Alexander, Ishikawa,
and Silverstein, A Pattern Language, and Alexander, The Timeless Way of Building.
4. C. Alexander, The Timeless Way of Building (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979).
5. K. Kelley compares the design of complex machines and social systems to the process of
intentionally creating a prairie. It is not a process where the design can be defined up front and
executed programmatically. Rather, it begins by establishing a living "chunk" or "whole
organelle," which grows organically. Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social
Systems, and the Economic World (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1994), 45, 57-68.
6. This principle is consistent with the direction of organization theory and practice since the
seminal work of McGregor, The Human Side of Enterprise (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1960),
and Argyris, Integrating the Individual and the Organization (New York: Wiley, 1964). Warren
Bennis and Philip Slater, among others, have emphasized design approaches that call for
increased participation of members at all levels in decisions about the design and management of
their work. Bennis and Slater, The Temporary Society (New York: Harper & Row, 1968). In later
decades, Argyris and Schon have described in detail the conditions for dialogue, or
"organizational learning," to address both routine issues and those that challenge basic values
and beliefs. Organizational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective (Reading, MA: Addison-
Wesley, 1978). McLagan and Nel outline various levels of participation and how to change roles
and systems to support participative management approaches. The Age of Participation (San
Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 1995)
7. The perspective of insiders is most powerful when it includes an understanding of outsiders.
Social change, whether in an organization or society at large, is often driven by an insider who
has acquired perspective on the world outside. See, for instance, R. A. Nisbet, Social Change
and History: Aspects of the Western Theory of Development (London: Oxford University Press,
1975), and J. Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University
Press, 1949).
8. J. Lave and E. Wenger found that apprentices learned a great deal through "legitimate
peripheral participation"; that is, by participating peripherally in a practice where there were
opportunities to learn from masters and more experienced journey men. Situated Learning:
Legitimate Peripheral Participation (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991). For
example, apprentice tailors in Africa gained entry to the practice at first by running errands and
performing simple finishing tasks, such as sewing buttons, which involved little risk but gave
them a good sense of the final product.
9. R. McDermott, "Why Information Technology Inspired, but Cannot Deliver Knowledge
Management," California Management Review 41, no. 3 (1999) 103-117.
10. R. Oldenburg explains that informal public places such as piazzas, cafes, and hair salons
provide an essential context for fostering the various interpersonal connections that weave a
community together over time. Celebrating the Third Place: Inspiring Stories about the Great
Good Places at the Heart of Our Communities (New York: Marlowe & Company, 1989). P. Katz
and V. Scully describe the "new urbanism" school of city planning, which emphasizes design
elements such as front porches on residential streets, to encourage spontaneous conversations
between neighbors. The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture of Community (New York:
McGraw-Hill, 1993).
11. Oldenberg, Celebrating the Third Place.
12. C. J. G. Gersick found that project teams exhibited a consistent time-based pattern of
behavior in which team members would predictably shift gears at the halfway point and become
more self-conscious about how to use the remaining time to meet their objective. "Time and
Transition Work Teams: Toward a New Model of Group Development," Academy of
Management Journal 31, no. 1 (1988): 9-41.
... It is found that be engaging to other university it helps to enhance individual work performance, helps to enhance professional networks. The external Wenger et al. (2002) believe that Communities of Practice play an important role in knowledge management by connecting isolated pockets of expertise across an organization. ...
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The creation of small entrepreneurship in a developing country like Bangladesh has paramount importance in socioeconomic development of the country. The reasons can be attributed by the balanced growth and the inclusion of general masses in the development process of the country. However, this development process is hindered by a number of unfavorable factors which are primarily concerned with personal, economic, social, environmental, political, and legal in nature. Access to the resources of the small entrepreneurs of the country should be ensured to initiate and run the small business in Bangladesh. Hence, this paper aims at exploring the factors that hinder the development of small business entrepreneurs in Bangladesh. This study follows both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Two hundred ten small entrepreneurs in different business sectors of Bangladesh such as, food processing, rice farming, freight forwarding, tea production, barbing salon, water refill station, grocery business, fish selling, cattle farming, etc. were interviewed with a structured questionnaire. Factor analysis was conducted to identify the factors impede the small entrepreneurial businesses in Bangladesh. Regression analysis was carried out to examine the relationships between the hindering factors and the overall development of small business entrepreneurship in Bangladesh. The results show that the lack of local support for starting and running business, lack of knowledge on information technology, lack of business experience, and lack of entrepreneurship training are important factors or barriers for the development of small entrepreneurial businesses in Bangladesh. This study suggests that the policy makers should focus more on stimulatory, supporting and sustaining activities to develop small business entrepreneurship in Bangladesh.
... In communities of practices individuals build a community through relationships, develop a shared repertoire of resources, experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing their concerns and thereby learn from each other. The construct 'communities of practice' is used in many ways in the literature, depending on exclusivity of membership rules (Brown & Duguid, 1991;Lave & Wenger, 1991;Wenger, 1998;Wenger, McDermott & Snyder, 2002). For exploring university students' engagement with careers service, this research adopts Lave and Wegner's (1991) conceptualisation, where a 'community' is a group of individuals (students) that share a practice (engagement with careers service for improving employability). ...
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Despite experiencing challenges in transitioning into graduate employment (Ashley, Duberley, Sommerlad & Scholarios, 2015; Boston Consulting Group, 2017) low socio- economic background students are less likely to engage with support offered through their higher education careers services (Greenbank & Hepworth, 2008; Simpson & Ferguson, 2013). This study investigates the efficacy of using a four-week online community of practice intervention aiming to build careers support engagement of students from low socio-economic backgrounds through peer learning. Through a series of 24 semi-structured interviews, it was found that students who disengaged from the intervention reported doing so due to feeling apprehensive about their lack of knowledge and experience, other commitments (especially term-time work and academic studies), and anxiety associated with transition from university to work. This research expands the careers counselling literature to not only consider career consulting practices, but also student engagement through leveraging social learning. This work has additional practical applications for careers practitioners highlighting benefits and drawbacks of offering career support through online communities of practice. Keywords: careers counselling, engagement, socio-economic backgrounds, community of practice, peer learning, careers service interventions
... In communities of practices individuals build a community through relationships, develop a shared repertoire of resources, experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing their concerns and thereby learn from each other. The construct 'communities of practice' is used in many ways in the literature, depending on exclusivity of membership rules (Brown & Duguid, 1991;Lave & Wenger, 1991;Wenger, 1998;Wenger, McDermott & Snyder, 2002). For exploring university students' engagement with careers service, this research adopts Lave and Wegner's (1991) conceptualisation, where a 'community' is a group of individuals (students) that share a practice (engagement with careers service for improving employability). ...
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Youth employment is a global social and economic challenge. The difficulties young people face in accessing work that allows skill use and development, and a decent living wage, have multiple scarring effects (McQuaid, 2017) not only for young people’s future employment and career outcomes but also for organizations (e.g., underutilisation of labour) and society (e.g., community welfare). The challenges of youth employment are therefore multi-faceted involving numerous stakeholders. This Special Issue features a mix of full-length empirical papers and stakeholder interviews focusing on key themes related to youth employment.
... It is expected that in 2025 creative industries will contribute 11 percent to GDP and 12-13 percent to exports (Executive Summary, 2086). The growth of the creative industry still needs support from various parties, so that it has a major contribution to economic development and the problem currently faced is the ability of human resources, so that it has an impact on competitive advantage [4]. In addition, the national creative economy industry has experienced exponential growth in the last three years and has become one of the important pillars of the Indonesian economy. ...
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This research aimed to design a creative center that was used as a place for the creative community. Creative hub had recently gained more interest in Indonesia due to the growth of the creative community, which was supported by culture, technology, social, and business segment. This research was conducted using two different methods. The first method was to use primary data consisting of interviews, field observations, and documentation. The second method was to use secondary data through literature and reference studies. From the data collected through these two methods, the researcher finds an analysis of the needs of the creative center and later finds schematic design in the form of conceptualization, alternative layouts, the initial description of the design, initial sketches, and mock studies. From this concept, it is hoped that the Creative Center for the Youth Community can be used as a place to look for creative ideas, express knowledge, and develop existing ideas. This creative concept is applied to the use of colors that can stimulate creativity, such as yellow, green, and orange, and the colors will be applied through bright lighting.
... Data analysis consisted of 1) using open coding to construct a codebook to capture the variety and nuances of the participants' experiences, and then 2) using the codebook to holistically evaluate each participant's interview to allow themes of the group's experiences to emerge based on the research team consensus and feedback from intellectual neighbors. Intellectual neighbors are people outside the community that can offer feedback with no risk of getting ensnared in the community decisions (Wenger et al., 2002) and engage in robust discussion (Walther et al., 2017). Three members of the research team coded the interviews independently using MaxQDA, a word processing software where codes are associated with sections of texts. ...
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Background: National calls to improve engineering education have prompted educators to explore ways to implement change. We need a better understanding of how research-based instructional strategies (RBISs) are sustainably adopted among faculty. Prior studies indicated that developing collaborations and a shared vision among faculty facilitates adoption, but few studies demonstrate successful efforts to create these collaborations. Purpose/Hypothesis: We seek to understand the process of developing a culture of collaboration among STEM faculty interested in implementing instructional innovation in engineering and to characterize the process of how the STEM faculty community of practice (COP) develops and functions. To achieve this, we investigated two research questions: 1) How do participants describe their experience in the SIIP – a program designed to promote and support collaborations around teaching innovation? 2) What patterns and themes emerge in the experiences of participants? Design/Method: We applied an exploratory phenomenological approach, using semi-structured interviews with 12 STEM faculty members across academic ranks. Interviews were analyzed using a thematic analysis process with multiple rounds of coding. Results: The participants’ experiences revealed that social capital and shared accountability support building a collaborative culture among engineering faculty engaged in instructional innovation. The community of practice provided organizational support and resources to STEM faculty that enabled community behaviors including knowledge sharing about teaching. Conclusions: Building a community of practice among STEM faculty for education reform requires invested faculty, structural support by the institution (e.g., instructional initiatives programs), and a collaborative environment. Recommendations are provided for building a local version of a STEM faculty learning community committed to improving instruction.
... 70% of respondents expressed that an OCoP for L1 postprimary teachers would be worthwhile -Lurkers will exist and creating a culture of reciprocity will differ and take time (adapted fromDubé et al., 2006) Whilst co-located CoPs and OCoPs may differ in structure and delivery,Wenger et al. (2014) illuminate the importance of coordination and leadership roles if a community of practice is to truly thrive for a period of longer duration. ...
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This paper will set out the key planning considerations regarding the establishment of a dedicated online portal for Gaeltacht and Irish-medium schools at post-primary level as detailed in the Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022 (PGE). The research topic is intrinsically linked with action points highlighted within strategy and policy papers concerning the improvement of online supports for teachers in recent years by the Department of Education (DE) in Ireland. The Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020 refers to the objective of establishing digital communities of practice and the PGE highlights the need for a ‘dedicated online portal’ for Irish-medium schools. Embracing a problem-solving spirit, forging coalitions, building inter-agency collaboration, and ensuring teacher buy-in from the outset are all critical factors in the necessary planning process. Through the adoption of a mixed-methods approach, questionnaire and focus group respondents verified the most important thematic issues for L1 (Irish-medium) post-primary teachers respecting the establishment of what has the capacity to become a flourishing online community of practice (OCoP). The research process cast a spotlight upon how best to serve the teachers’ professional needs, confirmed the need for a collaborative approach that prioritised the significance of the collective, ascertained the existence of greater teacher openness to systemic change, and the centrality of transformative digital solutions in the L1 educational sphere.
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Engagement with student thinking involves eliciting and using evidence of student thinking in instruction. This case study explored how three prospective elementary teachers engaged with student thinking in mathematics and used this thinking to guide instruction during their student teaching experiences. The prospective teachers were situated at the same school and same grade level and were supported through team meetings facilitated by a mathematics teacher educator. The prospective teachers then voluntarily sustained a community of practice in which they unpacked the pedagogical and content needs of instructional units focused on fractions. Consideration is given to implementation of similar support structures within teacher preparation programs in order to encourage teachers' engagement with student thinking, especially in mathematics.
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The last decade has seen numerous calls from academicians, government agencies, and policy agents to facilitate change in instructional practices in higher education. The calls have encouraged numerous institutions to organize faculty development programs to build the knowledge and skills among faculty and promote large-scale reforms in STEM instruction. Despite many years of efforts by faculty developers and institutions, traditional teaching methods continue to dominate as the primary mode of STEM instruction. In this study, we explore the role of a Community of Practice (CoP) in achieving sustainable change in instructional practices after the completion of the faculty development program in India. A CoP was formed before the start of a 6-week faculty development program on technology-enhanced learning to encourage and build a sense of community among the participants. Qualitative data was collected during the 6-week program to analyze the different ways in which the CoP supported the participants to achieve the outcomes of the faculty development program. Results from the thematic data analysis revealed that the members of the CoP helped each other through the exchange of ideas, clarification of misconceptions, providing feedback, and exchange of knowledge. It was observed that participants with varied prior teaching experience supported each other as they designed and developed course websites (developing tacit knowledge). After the completion of the 6-week program, the participants continued to meet with other members of the CoP to share the experience of how they adopted technology-enhanced learning in their respective courses. The members of the CoP started to exhibit a commitment to the shared vision of technology-enhanced learning. This led to the transformation of the CoP members from participants of a workshop to change agents themselves as they started to conduct additional training programs for the other faculty in the institution.
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AVALIAÇÃO POR PORTFÓLIOS: UMA REVISÃO DA METODOLOGIA APLICADA NA ÁREA DA SAÚDE
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Contexte et problématique : La « communauté de pratique » (CoP) auprès de professionnels en exercice suscite de plus en plus d’intérêt en éducation des sciences de la santé. En tant que stratégie d’apprentissage collaboratif, elle valorise et soutient l’explicitation des savoirs d’expérience en vue du développement des meilleures pratiques dans des contextes précis. Or, ce concept a évolué et génère souvent de la confusion voire de la controverse, d’autant qu’il y a plusieurs types de CoP qui sont initiées tantôt par ses membres, tantôt par des organisations qui utilisent cette stratégie pour être plus performantes. Pour optimiser le potentiel de la CoP, il importe de comprendre sa signification, en plus de connaître les principes de base et les conditions de succès pour sa planification, son déroulement et son évaluation. Buts : Résumer le concept évolutif de la CoP, dégager ses principes de base et décrire les principales conditions de succès pour sa planification, son déroulement et son évaluation. Méthodes et résultats : En se référant à la littérature et aux expériences d’animation de CoP d’un des auteurs, ceux-ci en résument le concept évolutif et les principaux principes, puis décrivent sept clés de succès en y associant les principales actions à prévoir pour chacune d’elles. Conclusions : La CoP s’avère être une stratégie d’apprentissage collaboratif des plus pertinentes pour les enseignants en sciences de la santé et leurs organisations qui veulent améliorer les pratiques. Il est souhaitable que ce guide informatif soit utilisé pour faciliter la tenue de projets de CoP et pour en évaluer les impacts.
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Recent developments in information technology have inspired many companies to imagine a new way for staff to share knowledge and insights. Instead of storing documents in personal files and sharing personal insights with a small circle of colleagues, they can store documents in a common information base and use electronic networks to share insights with their whole community, even people scattered across the globe. However, most companies soon discover that leveraging knowledge is actually very hard and is more dependent on community building than information technology. This is not because people are reluctant to use information technology, rather it is because they often need to share knowledge that is neither obvious nor easy to document, knowledge that requires a human relationship to think about, understand, share, and appropriately apply. Ironically, while information technology has inspired the "knowledge revolution," it takes building human communities to realize it.
Berrett-Koehler, 1994]) describes them as systems that are governed by self-organizing principles associated with complexity and chaos theory
  • M J Wheatley
M. J. Wheatley (Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World [San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 1994]) describes them as systems that are governed by self-organizing principles associated with complexity and chaos theory;
It is not a process where the design can be defined up front and executed programmatically. Rather, it begins by establishing a living "chunk" or "whole organelle
  • K Kelley
K. Kelley compares the design of complex machines and social systems to the process of intentionally creating a prairie. It is not a process where the design can be defined up front and executed programmatically. Rather, it begins by establishing a living "chunk" or "whole organelle," which grows organically. Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1994), 45, 57-68.
In later decades, Argyris and Schon have described in detail the conditions for dialogue, or "organizational learning," to address both routine issues and those that challenge basic values and beliefs. Organizational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective
This principle is consistent with the direction of organization theory and practice since the seminal work of McGregor, The Human Side of Enterprise (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1960), and Argyris, Integrating the Individual and the Organization (New York: Wiley, 1964). Warren Bennis and Philip Slater, among others, have emphasized design approaches that call for increased participation of members at all levels in decisions about the design and management of their work. Bennis and Slater, The Temporary Society (New York: Harper & Row, 1968). In later decades, Argyris and Schon have described in detail the conditions for dialogue, or "organizational learning," to address both routine issues and those that challenge basic values and beliefs. Organizational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspective (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1978). McLagan and Nel outline various levels of participation and how to change roles and systems to support participative management approaches. The Age of Participation (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 1995)
Social change, whether in an organization or society at large, is often driven by an insider who has acquired perspective on the world outside. See, for instance
  • R A Nisbet
  • J Campbell
The perspective of insiders is most powerful when it includes an understanding of outsiders. Social change, whether in an organization or society at large, is often driven by an insider who has acquired perspective on the world outside. See, for instance, R. A. Nisbet, Social Change and History: Aspects of the Western Theory of Development (London: Oxford University Press, 1975), and J. Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1949).
found that apprentices learned a great deal through "legitimate peripheral participation"; that is, by participating peripherally in a practice where there were opportunities to learn from masters and more experienced journey men
  • J Lave
  • E Wenger
J. Lave and E. Wenger found that apprentices learned a great deal through "legitimate peripheral participation"; that is, by participating peripherally in a practice where there were opportunities to learn from masters and more experienced journey men. Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991). For example, apprentice tailors in Africa gained entry to the practice at first by running errands and performing simple finishing tasks, such as sewing buttons, which involved little risk but gave them a good sense of the final product.
Celebrating the Third Place
  • Oldenberg
Oldenberg, Celebrating the Third Place.
Gersick found that project teams exhibited a consistent time-based pattern of behavior in which team members would predictably shift gears at the halfway point and become more self-conscious about how to use the remaining time to meet their objective
C. J. G. Gersick found that project teams exhibited a consistent time-based pattern of behavior in which team members would predictably shift gears at the halfway point and become more self-conscious about how to use the remaining time to meet their objective. "Time and Transition Work Teams: Toward a New Model of Group Development," Academy of Management Journal 31, no. 1 (1988): 9-41.