Paper Analysis – “Building a Community of Practice”


Bradshaw, P., Powell, S., & Terrell, I. (2004). Building a Community of Practice: Group, 184–201.


Designing a Community of Practice:

  • Purpose:
    • shared purpose or passion
    • shared needs and clear value potential pertain
    • Scott Peck describes various stages of communities of practice –
      • pseudo communities (remain at the stages of politeness)
      • chaos (people decide what they need to defend their views)
      • emptiness (people empty themselves of the desire of changing others)
      • community building
  •  Enablers
    • technology
    • time
    • budget
    • support
    • incentives
  • Leadership of the community
  • Processes
    • flexible communication strategies are as important as storytelling and learning conversations
  • People
    • Competencies, affinities, commitment, behaviours and diversity or perspectives are all elements that people bring to CoPs
  • Time is a key issue

Leadership Roles and Responsibilities

  • a leader must ensure that virtual conversations do not become fragmented or disjointed
  • in virtual communities intentions can be easily misread so events should be created to keep the life of the community healthy and to improve the participation and experience of members
  • CoPs have to be marketed so that levels of participation are improved
  • leaders of CoPs have to believe that CoPs add value to the core business of an organisation so they an defend the space needed for them to function effectively
  • CoPs needs to move beyond helping each other, to developing a more proactive-forward looking role

Communities of Practice: Stages of Development

  1. Discover/Prepare (Potential)
  2. Initiate/Incubate (Energised)
  3. Focus/Grow (Coalescing/maturing)
  4. Sustain/Renew (Active)
  5. Let Go/Remember (Dispensing)



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