The Nature and Structure of Communities of Practice

The following is the introduction to an article that Keith De La Rue wrote wich was published in the KM Review (KM Review | Volume 11 Issue 5 | November/December 2008).

It echoes a lot of sentiments that I have about the nature and needs for sustainability of communities of practice.

Very insightful.

The theory and practice of communities

Despite everything that the modern KM practitioner knows about communities, collaboration and technology, communities of practice (CoPs) often fail and collaboration often breaks down. In order to establish an effective CoP, it’s necessary first to think about the nature and structure of a community and recognize that it’s an entirely different entity from a work group or a project team. As such, it must be treated differently, too. In this article, author Keith De La Rue examines the pitfalls associated with CoPs and why helping them to grow and flourish requires a better understanding of three words: “community”, “practice” and “technology”.

Read the full article (PDF)

Similarly, I refer back to a post I made earlier this year about Lilia Efimova’s diagram distinguishing a community of practice from a team or a network.

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