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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

The Communication in the Communities of Practice: Is there a "Best" Tool?

The Communication in the Communities of Practice: Is there a "Best" Tool?
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Author(s): Anabela Sarmento (MOISIG, Portugal), Joao Carlos Lopes Batista (University of Aveiro, Portugal), Leonor Cardoso (MOISIG, Portugal), Mário Lousa (MOISIG, Portugal), Rosalina Babo (MOISIG, Portugal) and Teresa Rebelo (MOISIG, Portugal)
Copyright: 2003
Pages: 1
Source title: Information Technology & Organizations: Trends, Issues, Challenges & Solutions
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-066-0.ch283
ISBN13: 9781616921248
EISBN13: 9781466665330


Communities of practice (CoP) are described as “groups 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” [Wenger, McDermott and Snyder, 2002:4]. Additionally, we recognise that knowledge has become the key to success as well as a source of competitive advantage. Organizations are recognizing that the need to nurture the development of “communities of practice in strategic areas is a practical way to manage knowledge as an asset” [op. cit.:6]. These communities are not bound to an organization. They can be constituted by elements “from different organizations as well as across independent business units” [op. cit.:6]. These communities can be, though, collocated or distributed. For example, “[s]cientists have long been forming communities of practice by communicating across the globe (once by letter and now by e-mail). Some communities meet regularly2 (…). Others are connected primarily by e-mail and phone and may meet only once or twice a year. What allows members to share knowledge is not the choice of a specific form of communication (face-to-face as opposed to Webbased, for instance), but the existence of a shared practice” [op. cit.:25]. Although these communities are not built around a certain technology, in some cases it is needed in order to help the group to be developed. Some CoP’s grow because they use the “right” tools. They help the members of the community, for instance, to be in touch, to share ideas and opinions, to solve problems together, to socialize, to work in the same document at the same time.

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