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Cultivating Communities of Practice: From Idea to Execution: A Guide to Managing Knowledge (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 1. Januar 2002

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Cultivating Communities of Practice: From Idea to Execution: A Guide to Managing Knowledge + Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, And Identity (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives) + Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives)
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From the time our ancestors lived in caves to that day in the late '80s when Chrysler sanctioned unofficial "tech clubs" to promote the flow of information between teams working on different vehicle platforms, bands of like-minded individuals had been gathering in a wide variety of settings to recount their experiences and share their expertise. Few paid much attention until a number of possible benefits to business were identified, but many are watching more closely now that definitive links have been established. In Cultivating Communities of Practice, consultants Etienne C. Wenger, Richard McDermott, and William Snyder take the concept to another level by describing how these groups might be purposely developed as a key driver of organizational performance in the knowledge age. Building on a 1998 book by Wenger that framed the theory for an academic audience, Cultivating Communities of Practice targets practitioners with pragmatic advice based on the accumulating track records of firms such as the World Bank, Shell Oil, and McKinsey & Company. Starting with a detailed explanation of what these groups really are and why they can prove so useful in managing knowledge within an organization, the authors discuss development from initial design through subsequent evolution. They also address the potential "dark side"--arrogance, cliquishness, rigidity, and fragmentation among participants, for example--as well as measurement issues and the challenges inherent in initiating these groups company-wide. --Howard Rothman


Today's marketplace is fueled by knowledge. Yet organizing systematically to leverage knowledge remains a challenge. Leading companies have discovered that technology is not enough, and that cultivating communities of practice is the keystone of an effective knowledge strategy. Communities of practice come together around common interests and expertise - whether they consist of first-line managers or customer service representatives, neurosurgeons or software programmers, city managers or home-improvement amateurs. They create, share, and apply knowledge within and across the boundaries of teams, business units, and even entire companies - providing a concrete path toward creating a true knowledge organization.In "Cultivating Communities of Practice", Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott, and William M. Snyder argue that while communities form naturally, organizations need to become more proactive and systematic about developing and integrating them into their strategy. This book provides practical models and methods for stewarding these communities to reach their full potential - without squelching the inner drive that makes them so valuable.

Through in-depth cases from firms such as DaimlerChrysler, McKinsey & Company, Shell, and the World Bank, the authors demonstrate how communities of practice can be leveraged to drive overall company strategy, generate new business opportunities, tie personal development to corporate goals, transfer best practices, and recruit and retain top talent. They define the unique features of these communities and outline principles for nurturing their essential elements.They provide guidelines to support communities of practice through their major stages of development, address the potential downsides of communities, and discuss the specific challenges of distributed communities. And they show how to recognize the value created by communities of practice and how to build a corporate knowledge strategy around them. Essential reading for any leader in today's knowledge economy, this is the definitive guide to developing communities of practice for the benefit-and long-term success-of organizations and the individuals who work in them. Etienne Wenger is a renowned expert and consultant on knowledge management and communities of practice in San Juan, California.

Richard McDermott is a leading expert of organization and community development in Boulder, Colorado. William M. Snyder is a founding partner of Social Capital Group, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In diesem Buch (Mehr dazu)
IN 1988, WHEN JAPANESE COMPETITION WAS THREATening to put the Chrysler Corporation out of business, no one suspected that the resurgence of the company (now the Chrysler unit of DaimlerChrysler) would depend in part on the creation of an innovative knowledge system based on communities of practice. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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40 von 44 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A community of practice == a virtual community ? 12. Mai 2002
Von Amazon Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Wenger, McDermott and Snyder draw on the past to describe the usefulness of a community of practice. In the Stone Age knowledge was passed on to others while people gathered around a fire and discussed hunting strategies. A community of practice is a group of people who may be trying to solve a problem and who interact about a topic in order to deepen their knowledge. The aim is shared insight and information. The authors write that in the time of ancient Rome corporations of metalworkers, potters, masons and craftsmen formed communities with a combined business and social function. Moreover, in the Middle Ages artisans formed guilds as a way to share knowledge and experiences. Therefore, the authors argue that community as a basis for knowledge creation and management has a long historical tradition.
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. A case study given is that of Shell, which has created CoP's around particular technical topics.
Wenger, McDermott and Snyder go into detail over how a CoP functions. At the beginning it is important to find common ground between all the members of the community. Members need to find out if they share similar problems and passions with one another. The authors believe a variety of communities exist: help communities, best practice, innovation and knowledge stewarding communities. Usually a community coordinator is needed who identifies important issues and plans events. The author's method for assessing the performance of a community consists of asking the questions: What did the community do? What knowledge did they produce? And how were those applied to get results?
All the characteristics mentioned, although are only intended by the authors to represent a CoP, share similarities with a virtual community. In fact the authors believe that Internet technology such as asynchronous threaded discussions can be used for distributed communities of practice. In fact some CoP's have websites where members have their pictures and biographical information on the site. However, Wenger, McDermott and Snyder make no connection between a community of practice and a virtual community. In fact they don't mention the two being related in any way at all, despite the dynamics appearing to be very similar. At the end of the book this omission seems very obvious given the incredible growth of virtual community at eBay and Amazon.
18 von 20 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Excellent overview, implementation is up to you 2. Januar 2003
Von Max More - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Writing a good book on the topic of communities of practice must a difficult task. The research challenge arises from the difficulty of finding hard data in a soft subject. The complexity of human interactions in groups defies neat categorizations and explanations. The authors of this highly readable volume do better than you might expect. Combining their deep knowledge in the subject with examples from a range of large companies (Shell Oil, Hewlett-Packard, Ben & Jerry's), they explain how this promising aspect of knowledge management and organizational culture can work. Along with stories about communities of practice at various stages of development, the authors succeed in providing a fairly well-developed scheme for these communities and their care and feeding.

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.
9 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Relevant, Insightful and Practical 26. Januar 2003
Von John Allenby - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a very interesting book in explaining how to initiate communities of practice, their lifecycle and their role in the sharing and development of knowledge. Over the last ten or twenty years there has been much written about new organizational structures and the emerging importance of developing and retaining knowledge within corporations. Wenger, McDermott and Snyder approach this topic from a social perspective and apply some standard community building concepts to "communities of practice". This contrasts much of the popular thinking on these topics that tend to overemphasize the role of technology in helping to build communities or address knowledge management issues.
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.
9 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
An essential reading for the knowlege economy 24. Juni 2003
Von M. R. Dugage - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This book, just published by "the three musketeers of Communities of Practice", is a practical guide to managing knowledge. What makes this book special is that it goes far beyond the simple explanation and advocacy for communities of practice, which we have all been reading about for the last five years. Through in-depth cases from firms such as DaimlerChrysler, McKinsey & Company, Shell, and the World Bank, the authors expand on many practical aspects one should have in mind when engaging in a community development: The "seven principles", the "five development steps" are presented in practical terms and with great details so that they can be used as a framework for all practitioners.
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.
14 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A must-read until something better comes along 3. Oktober 2009
Von Michael Tiemann - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
I ordered this book on a co-workers "you need to drop everything you are doing and read this book" recommendation, and I must confess, it was immediately useful the day after I read it (and still two weeks later, after I've had a chance to share its insights with hundreds of people). And indeed I have found myself recommending it, despite numerous limitations.

The strongest and most important contribution this book makes is to first define a robust definition of community and community practice within the command-and-control corporate hierarchy. I especially appreciated that the authors did not go overboard (as so many business authors do) and try to redefine absolutely everything in terms of their particular insight. Their restraint makes the first two chapters a very safe "if you care the least bit about this subject, you need to get grounded in these two chapters *now*".

The most glaring omission of this book is that there is no discussion whatsoever about free/open source software. Granted the book was published in 2002, but by that time:

* Netscape started the open source Mozilla project (1998)
* Red Hat went public on NASDAQ, using a community-based R&D model (1999)
* IBM committed to invest $1B into Linux (2000)
* reported its first-ever profit, attributed in part to its use of Linux (2001)

One possible explanation for this omission is that the authors wanted to leave technology (and thus technology-mediated practices) entirely out of their discussions. But the fact remains that the free software community, which was started explicitly as a community first (Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays of Richard M. Stallman), and the open source movement (which was a combined commercial/community symbiosis, see Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution (O'Reilly Open Source)) are defining examples of the cultivation of communities of practice at the billion dollar level in 2002 (and now well past $10B today). Such an omission makes me very ambivalent about recommending this book to the communities I work within.

Hopefully the authors will see fit to release a revised and updated version, one which maintains its neutral and yet insightful perspective, while also giving some much-deserved attention to both the free and open source software communities as well as the ways in which those communities have enabled other communities to operate (using the World Wide Web, Wikis, and other open source technologies).
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