Social structures as a management tool
An understanding of the type of social structure which can take the responsibility of nurturing the learning, developing the competencies and managing the knowledge had been missing. Managers have discovered specific social structure to manage projects through a project-based style of working to effectively manage projects and assign responsibilities. They have not still understood how to manage the ownership of knowledge.
In case of ownership of knowledge, the usual structures do not address the knowledge-related problems as effectively as the problems of performance and accountability are done. Although a lot of learning happens in the business units and the teams, it is easily lost. The business units have to focus on the immediate opportunities in the market to achieve the business goals where learning might take a back seat. The project teams are temporary, so the knowledge will be lost when the team breaks up. The knowledge usually remains local for ongoing operational teams as they are focused on their own tasks. The traditional knowledge oriented structures like the corporate universities and the centers of excellence usually have been located in the headquarters where the operating employees put the knowledge to use. Most of the companies have discovered that the communities of practice are the perfect ideal social structure for guarding and propagating the knowledge. By giving responsibility to the practitioners to develop and share the knowledge required, the communities give a social forum which supports the nature of knowledge.