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Cultivating Communities of Practice Hardcover – March 15, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Wenger, McDermott and Snyder believe that knowledge management needs to become more systematic and deliberate. The authors believe in the collective nature of knowledge, which involves every person contributing their perspective of a problem. A Community of Practice (CoP) allows for the connection of isolated pockets of expertise across an organization. The CoP consists of a domain of knowledge, a community of people and the shared practice they are developing. The community environment allows for interactions, relationships, sharing of ideas and the opportunity to ask difficult questions. The purpose of the CoP is to create, expand and exchange knowledge. The authors believe that a large number of CoP members rarely participate. Instead they watch the interaction and learn from the discussions that occur, learning from them. The authors believe that the most valuable activities consist of informal discussions that occur between members to solve a particular problem.Read more ›
A community of practice (CoP) is a group of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis. This book explains the potential value of CoPs, their structural elements, principles for crafting CoPs, analyzes their stages of growth, explores their downsides, investigates how to measure the value they create, and what role they play in community-based knowledge initiatives. It seems unfair to criticize this book, but more detail on how to implement CoPs would have been welcome. The authors have developed a helpful framework for understanding CoPs, illustrated by examples, but the reader will still need to think hard to implement them in a new setting.
The approach to "cultivating" and nurturing communities, as opposed to "managing" them, is also explained so that managers will hopefully resist the urge to try and control them using mechanistic mental models. At last, the question of measuring value creation for organizations is addressed in convincing and, again, practical ways.
There is also some wisdom in this book. The "dark side" of communities of practice is also addressed. If unproperly managed, communities of practice can indeed create isolation, collusion, or tensions, which can be quite destructive for community members and sponsoring organizations.
This book is an essential reading for any leader in today's knowledge economy. It will undoubtedly remain as a reference for all of us practitioners who want to develop communities of practice for the benefit and long-term success of organizations and their employees.
Cultivating Communities of Practice is and excellent handbook for anyone involved in the setup, participation or stewardship of "communities of practice" within a corporation. I would though suggest that the emphasis is on "corporation", which in some cases implies individuals having some predetermined alignment (presumably with the interests of the corporation). There is some very good discussion at the end of the book covering communities of practice outside of the corporation with and some review of supply chains and 3rd sector examples, although very limited coverage. It was noted that the focus has been on corporations as this is where there are solid examples of these practices. Hopefully a future book will address this area in more depth.
This book is identified as "A Guide to Managing Knowledge", and it does fit this description well. If you still believe that technology can be the primary component of a knowledge management strategy, then you need this book to better understand the nature of knowledge management in terms of communities of practice.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very good practical model for building a community of practice.Published 2 months ago by R. B. Moore
The book was advertised as no markings and clean copy but when I received the book I was extremely dissapoointed seeing a lot of highlighting throughout the book - I specifically... Read morePublished 2 months ago by SULE YILMAZ
Great book! There are CoP's everywhere, but this book helps to outline HOW to get the CoP you want, with the results you need.Published 8 months ago by Bruce E Vilches
Although I enjoyed the book, I find the publishing company/book manufacturer did a poor job with the manufacturing of the book. Read morePublished 13 months ago by sac_tony
Well written with ground-breaking concepts at the time of publication. It has been used as a springboard for many research projects.Published 15 months ago by Norma Lee-Smith
i'm building Gaudeamus - the academic network for publishing in journals (gaudeamusacademia.com), an online community of scholars (professor, researchers and journals’ editors). Read morePublished on April 13, 2014 by Rafael Hernandez Barros