Thursday 14 December 2017

4 ways in which communities of practice can be embedded

Here is a really interesting article about the ways in which Communities of Practice can be embedded in an organisation

Coins embedded in a tree @ Longshaw Estate, Derbyshire The article is  about the management of Networks of Practice  in the development sector, and how to draw the balance between managing them too much, or too little.

The authors (Marlous Agterberg, Bart van den Hooff, Marleen Huysman and Maura Soekijad from the University of Amsterdam) come up with an interesting model, where they recognised four forms of "Embeddedness" which they believe are important to the effective operation of these networks. They describe these as follows

  • Organizational embeddedness: the extent to which the knowledge shared in the network is relevant for and integrated in the formal organization. Further divided  as follows
    • Institutionalization - the extent to which outcomes of the network can be applied in the formal organization as rules, routines, strategies, etc
    • Relevance for organization Extent to which knowledge sharing in the network is considered valuable for the organization
  •  Embeddedness in practice: the extent to which the knowledge shared in the network is relevant for and integrated in the  local and daily practices of network members. Further divided into 
    • Relevance to practice - Extent to which knowledge sharing in the network is immersed in the daily local practices of members ‘
    • Common practices - Extent to which the network members use the same practices
  •  Relational embeddedness: the extent to which the network is embedded in the social ties  and elements such as trust, mutual expectations, and identification. Further divided into 
    • Group feeling - Extent to which members feel they belong to the same group 
    • Trust -  Feelings of safety and trust in the network 
    •  Reciprocity - Willingness of network members to help other members
    • Face-to-face contact - Amount and possibilities of face-to-face contacts among network members
  • Structural embeddedness: the extent to which network members are connected to one another and know who knows what and how to reach them. Further divided into 
    • Connectedness - Extent to which members are connected to one another
    • Know who is where and knows what - Extent to which members know who knows what in the network and how to reach these people
These are all very interesting, and should be considered when setting up, running or managing communities of practice.

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