Communities of practice - differ and structure, Other Management

Communities of Practice Differ and Structure

Though a neighbourhood is called a community, not every community is called Community of Practice. Similarly, not everything which is practiced like  practicing  the  piano  will  give  rise  to  community.  The  terms  like community and practice refer to a particular type of social structure with a particular purpose. Giving some contrasts with the other more familiar structures will help to explain what is distinctive about the communities of practice as the knowledge structures.

Communities versus business or functional Units

The  core of  the business  or  the functional  unit  is  the  responsibility  for managing a business aim like serving a particular market segment, manufacturing a product or fulfilling the administrative function. The responsibility includes allocating the resources, managing the business processes and also assigning the formal roles, the reporting relationships and the accountability for the business outcomes. The Communities of Practice  are  loosely  connected,  informal  and  self-managed  than  the business units even when they are institutionalised. The production targets, the allocation of the resources and the reporting relationships will distract the Community of Practice from the purpose of spreading the knowledge and also initiating the learning process.

Communities versus project or operational teams

The essence of the team is the set of interdependent tasks which contribute to the predefined shared objective. The teams which make a commitment to the aims and make sure that the individual commitments are kept. The team leader  will  have  to  keep  the team  focused  on  the  deliverables  and coordinate the individual contributions to the overall objectives. The essence of the community practice is the member's personal investment in the domain. A domain is different from the task and is not so much so that a particular achievement as a territory where an area of the shared interest which  the  community  explores.  The  members  are connected by the interdependent knowledge and not the interdependent sub tasks. A community may also undertake the particular tasks and the projects in the course of developing the practice.

Communities   versus    informal    networks,   "Communities   of Interest," and professional associations

All the organisations will have informal networks of people who can communicate, share information and also build the relationships and reputations. The community of practice is different from such network which means that it is not a set of relationships but is the domain which will give the identity, commitment to care and intentionality to go beyond the interpersonal nature of the informal networks. A shared interest will not necessarily  yield  a  community  of  practice.  Caring  for  a  domain  will  go beyond the mere interest and also entail developing the shared practice which directly affects the behaviours and the abilities of the members. But, having a shared practice does not necessarily constitute the community of practice. Many of the professional associations act more as lobbying or advocacy entities than the communities of practice. The extent to which the group is or is not a community of practice is not something which can be determined in the abstract by the name or by the characteristics of members.

Posted Date: 9/28/2012 8:53:12 AM | Location : United States

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