Communities of Practice and Their Contribution to Organizational Learning Name: University: Course: Tutor: Date: Introduction A community of practice offers members informal and sometimes formal ways in which to acquire knowledge and skills and share them among themselves (Learningtheories.Com, 2013)…
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According to Jeanand Etienne (1991, p21), learning is not dependent on whether the learner and the teacher has a common code and in most cases only requires a congruent participation of both the one seeking knowledge and the source in the same activities. Once different professionals within an organization come together, whether in a formal alliance (team) or informally, they are able to collaborate on projects and this increases productivity. For instance, if one professional has something they want to do, like if instance a project, they can bring together their resources, that is, knowledge and skills, to work on that project. Most of the collaborations within an organization are actually informal and the members are usually in the group because they enjoy working together and sharing ideas. In fact, according to Hasanali et al (2002, p.59), most organizations don not assess the usefulness of communities of practice until after the communities have set themselves and manifested themselves in a good way. When employees within an organization come together to collaborate on projects, they are better able to share knowledge, skills and ideas. Apart from being able to deliver better work efficiently, collaboration in a firm is one of the most effective methods to manage an organization’s knowledge base. As the employees within the same domain of practice share information and pass on skills, they are more able to guarantee that the knowledge of the organization will remain in the organization. This can happen across all the departments of an organization as long as the collaboration is within one domain of profession. As Etienne (1998, p.4), says, such participation in collaborative teams defines what people do as well who we become and how we interact with what we do.? this is why communities of practice are so crucial within the organization as a tool to manage the organizational knowledge. At the same time, as Etienne et al, (2002, p.17), argued, communities of sharing are remarkably efficient implementing corporate strategy in the organization by bringing their ideas together. Experience sharing Within an organization, sharing experience is one of the ways in which communities of practice pass on their benefits to each other. This is probably one of the best forms of informal apprenticeship within an organization. One employee who is carrying out a project will be able to seek experience from others who have in the past achieved it. Again, this can also happen in any of the organization’s department and employees will benefit from the experience of others. For instance, if an employee is supposed to carry out some tasks such as advising a client on the best product to meet his needs, the employee can seek, among his or her community of practice in the organization, an individual who has done this in the past and then enlist their help. As the employee gets help from the other individual they will also be able to learn a lot about the project they are carrying out. Reusing assets This refers to the fact that the individuals within a community of practice can and do use intellectual and knowledge assets that have already been made by members of the community of practice within the organization. For instance, if one accountant within an organiz
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