How Social Process shapes Communities of Practice and its usefulness in Knowledge Management

Pages 8 (2008 words)
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Traditionally organizations have largely drawn on information technology to share knowledge. Databases have been prepared to retain information and promote learning. However, technology has its limitations in meeting the knowledge needs of organizations.


Organizations have come to recognize the value of social interactions among its employees and with those in the industry to generate new product ideas, solve customer problems and propel strategic initiatives Social processes can deliberately or inadvertently serve as the vehicles for diffusion of knowledge and create communities of like-minded people, with common professional interests. Referred to as Communities of Practice (CoP), they are usually self-organising in nature. Participants in such communities get together to share ideas, experiences and thoughts to further their learning on the subject of interest. Wenger defines CoP as "groups of people who share information, insight, experience, and tools about an area of common interest".
CoPs may arise out of social interactions, however they are always work related. Colleagues in an organization develop relationships that are not purely formal, as they problem solve together, meet during lunch breaks and discover new techniques and strategies through collaboration on common tasks. Wenger's definition of CoP coalesces three factors integral to a CoP. Firstly that it is a "joint enterprise as understood and continually renegotiated by its members". ...
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