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Bishop, J, Bouchlaghem, D, Glass, J and Matsumoto, I (2008) Identifying and mplementing management best practice for communities of practice. Architectural Engineering and Design Management, 4(03), 160–75.

  • Type: Journal Article
  • Keywords: communities of practice; knowledge management; task groups; organizations
  • ISBN/ISSN: 1745-2007
  • URL: http://earthscan.publisher.ingentaconnect.com/content/earthscan/aedm/2008/00000004/F0020003/art00002
  • Abstract:
    Communities of practice (CoPs) have generated an increasing amount of interest in recent years, both within knowledge management (KM) literature and the construction industry. However, there is an ongoing debate as to the most appropriate way to provide organizational support for CoPs and whether they can be managed effectively for increased organizational benefit. The aim of the research presented in this paper was to identify CoP management best practice and to implement the findings within a sponsoring organization. A key objective was to examine actual CoP management practices rather than managerial intentions - an area of research that, at present, is lacking within KM literature. A review of KM and CoP literature was combined with semi-structured interviews with experts from seven case study organizations, both within the construction industry and external to it. A number of best practices were implemented within a sponsoring organization including providing `strategic guidance' rather than direct management, establishing senior-level sponsors and/or steering groups, ensuring clarity and alignment of CoP objectives, ensuring effective selection of CoP leaders, securing dedicated CoP resources, integrating CoPs with existing business processes, supporting face-to-face collaboration, and non-obtrusive monitoring of CoP performance. Although a number of key conclusions were established, further research will be necessary to determine the long-term impact of CoP management practices.