You can’t tug on a cornstalk to make it grow faster or taller, and you shouldn’t yank a marigold out of the ground to see if it has roots. To reach their full potential, then, they need to be integrated into the business and supported in specific ways. Maureen hadn’t spent a lot of time preparing a formal presentation; she knew that only by talking directly and openly could she spur the give-and-take that would make the call worthwhile for the group. “The idea we pursued at that meeting helped me persuade the customer to continue to buy our service.” “Thanks to advice from the community, I got done in two days what normally takes me two weeks.” “I took a risk because I was confident I had the backing of my community—and it paid off.”. A systematic effort captures the diversity and range of activities that communities are involved in. They are considered a major tool for knowledge sharing, which is crucial to the success of any company. Communities of practice differ from other forms of organization in several ways. They solve problems quickly. A community of practice may or may not have an explicit agenda on a given week, and even if it does, it may not follow the agenda closely. Here are some of them: While onboarding processes are on place, communities of practice have become a great venue for newcomers to easily learn the skills they need to perform their job. Community members’ participation is paid for by their business units, which fund their annual projects, cover their attendance at workshops, and send them to an annual conference that brings together all the company’s communities of practice. In companies that have locations worldwide, using online tools and communications platforms is essential to enable communities of practice to work together and collaborate. It has a promotion system that formally acknowledges their work, and it grants nonfinancial rewards such as early access to innovative technology and special business cards that attest to the members’ expertise. All rights reserved. As mentioned in the studies like that of Orr, Wenger and Lave, and Brown and Duguid, communities help businesses by enhancing employees’ skills and performance, allowing members to solve problems through regular interaction, and by serving as a tool for effective learning and innovation in the workplace. The farmer killed the goose to get all the gold and ended up losing both; the challenge for organizations is to appreciate the goose and to understand how to keep it alive and productive. Roger made a special trip in on this occasion to help John hone his proposal to substitute pneumatic tubes for the balky conveyor belt that carried the pet food kibbles to the packaging bin; Roger’s background in plumbing was thus particularly relevant. They look at challenges and problems that people across units and teams have in common and that would serve as bases for a community of practice. Presentations, hallway conversations, dinners, and chat rooms are opportunities for members to exchange ideas, build skills, and develop networks. Then they turned to the proposal. While drinking coffee, Employee 1 casually brought up about the issue he’s been having about the machine he uses. Communities of practice, on the other hand, are informal—they organize themselves, meaning they set their own agendas and establish their own leadership. A year after the meeting, the company installed the new technology. The first is that CoPs tend to have a more relaxed, free-flowing structure which is the strict opposite of a typical company structure which is hierarchical. Elsevier. Instead, successful managers bring the right people together, provide an infrastructure in which communities can thrive, and measure the communities’ value in nontraditional ways. Background: Since being identified as a concept for understanding knowledge sharing, management, and creation, communities of practice (CoPs) have become increasingly popular within the health sector. Participation in the monthly calls is voluntary, but levels of attendance are steady. They give you both the golden eggs and the goose that lays them. Senior executives must be prepared to invest time and money in helping such communities reach their full potential. The clubs helped the company successfully make the move to platforms, a change that cut R&D costs and car-development cycle times by more than half. Consider how a group of consultants from one firm created a community that eventually generated an entirely new line of business. The community focuses on an HP software product called High Availability, which minimizes computer downtime for customers. Communities of practice are an important addition to your organisational toolkit simply because it promotes one of the most important aspects critical to your business success: knowledge management. A community of practice can exist entirely within a business unit or stretch across divisional boundaries. And members of an existing community, when they invite someone to join, also operate on a gut sense of the prospective member’s appropriateness for the group. Encyclopedia of language and linguistics. The result? They also know how to ask questions so that peers can quickly comprehend and focus on the heart of the problem. They also followed up on the previous week’s discussion about rethinking how new technicians are certified. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Large communities are often subdivided by geographic region or by subject matter in order to encourage people to take part actively. Significant reductions in downtime and wasted pet food related to packaging. The more active members decided they could move faster if they redefined the community’s domain. Communities of Practice (CoPs) are organized groups of people who have a common interest in a specific technical or business domain. People in companies form them for a variety of reasons. (For examples of how communities of practice have helped companies, see the sidebar “Communities in Action.”). All these reasons lead to the third one – it has become a challenge for businesses to measure the impact communities of practice have on their organisations. The bank’s decision to fund communities of practice, for example, led to a significant increase in the number of organizationwide communities—it’s now over 100—and in the intensity of participation. The third step is to appreciate the paradox that these informal structures require specific managerial efforts to develop them and to integrate them into the organization so that their full power can be leveraged. It’s a great framework to grow the tacit knowledge. That applies not only to the education of inexperienced workers but also to that of experts. In a nutshell, it is defined as a network of people who try to achieve common goals or solve common problems by harnessing knowledge and expertise. The community of practice (sometimes incorrectly referred to as "communities of practices") consists of members who interact with each other for their pursuit of a common practice. An analysis of a sample of stories revealed that the communities had saved the company $2 million to $5 million and increased revenue by more than $13 million in one year. These days, it is not enough that a company nourishes what it knows. A few years ago, AMS was going through an intense period of growth and globalization and, as a result, was losing its distinctive ability to leverage knowledge across the company. Like gardens, they respond to attention that respects their nature. Specifically, the repairment talked about the experienced they had, such as stories on the machines they fixed. This led to the creation of contextualised actionable knowledge about various aspects that are central to the better performance of their job. Improvements in operations can lead to financial rewards in the form of bonuses that are tied to the plant’s performance. The term CoP emerged in business literature in the mid-1990s, but articles about social learning and knowledge management had already appeared in journals such as Harvard Business Review as early as the early 1990s [43,44]. Now, imagine the possibilities. Communities of practice add value to organizations in several important ways: They help drive strategy. (For a summary of the differences, see the exhibit “A Snapshot Comparison.”) Consider, briefly, how communities differ from teams.
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