Over the past few weeks, I have read a number of papers, extracting definitions, characteristics, features, activities etc. to describe communities of practice from the literature. I am currently in Phase 1 of my case study of CoPs and this involves developing a broad defintion of CoPs that cann be used by anyone looking to define communities of practice. I have copied all the defintions of CoPs I have found from 17 papers into a document (on Google Drive) and below I have made a list of the key words/phrases which have emerged from the literature more than once.

  • groups of people
  • share a concern or passion or interest or set of problems
  • expertise in the topic
  • interact regularly
  • evolve naturally or created deliberately
  • active practitioners
  • share best practices
  • gain knowledge
  • knowledge creation and exchange
  • learning
  • situated learning theory
  • practice
  • intrinsic condition for the existence of knowledge
  • legitimate peripheral participation
  • fluid
  • dynamic
  • not formally recognized by organisations but if an organisation supports them it can benefit the organisation
  • mutual engagement
  • joint enterprise
  • shared repertoire
  • enabling and facilitating knowledge creation
  • interpersonal relationships
  • shared problems, experiences, stories, ideas, set standards, build tools, develop relationships
  • self-directed, self-organising
  • members

There isn’t a single defintion which is found in every paper which aims to define a community of practice so based on the information below, my next step is to create my own defintion of CoPs which incorprates all the key features of a CoP.

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