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Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge

Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge [Kindle Edition]

Etienne Wenger , Richard A. McDermott , William Snyder
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Today's economy is fueled by knowledge. Every leader knows this to be true, yet few have systematic methods for converting organizational knowledge into economic value. This book argues that communities of practice--groups of individuals formed around common interests and expertise--provide the ideal vehicle for driving knowledge-management strategies and building lasting competitive advantage. Written by leading experts in the field, Cultivating Communities of Practice is the first book to outline models and methods for systematically developing these essential groups. Through compelling research and company examples, including DaimlerChrysler, McKinsey & Company, Shell, and the World Bank, authors Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott, and William M. Snyder show how world-class organizations have leveraged communities of practice to drive strategy, generate new business opportunities, solve problems, transfer best practices, develop employees' professional skills, and recruit and retain top talent. Underscoring the new central role communities of practice are playing in today's knowledge economy, Cultivating Communities of Practice is the definitive guide to fostering, designing, and developing these powerful groups within and across organizations.

From the Publisher

 Written by the top authority on the subject, this is the definitive guide to developing communities of practice and integrating them into a company-wide knowledge strategy.  The term, "communities of practice," was first coined by Etienne Wenger, who researched this organizational form.  Provides a framework and practical tools to design and develop communities of practice and to launch a community of practice-based knowledge initiative.  Details the five stages of development and mentions problems that are likely to arise at each stage---and then provides ways to prevent these and solve them. ● Offers richly illustrated examples from companies such as DaimlerChrysler, McKinsey, the World Bank, and Shell.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 567 KB
  • Print Length: 316 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1578513308
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (8 Jan 2002)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004OEIQ7W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #262,841 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A dreadfully disappointing book. 26 July 2002
I arrived at this book via Situated Learning, the book Etienne Wenger wrote with Jean Lave, and his own earlier book, Communities of Practice. These present fundamental understandings on the nature of knowledge, practice and meaning in organisations. As a practitioner, I would very much like to see a follow-up, to address the practical implementation of these perspectives in the workplace. Unfortunately, Cultivating Communities of Practice fails to meet this need.
In their desperation to be friendly to a non-academic audience, the authors have avoided anything challenging to conventional management thinking, watering down the original and valuable concepts of the earlier books. The Community of Practice, which was previously "an intrinsic condition for the existence of knowledge" is now an optional - "a practical way to manage knowledge as an asset". Instead of being a pre-requisite for meaning and practice, it has become merely the latest management idea - a useful place for people to exchange ideas and help each other with problems. Problems and solutions are thereby re-located back into the minds of individuals, rather than being socially constructed.
There are occasional paragraphs - for instance on stewardship and institutionalisation - which briefly touch on the real issues, but for the most part the content is anodyne, and would be better suited to beginner's guide to running a social club.
A dreadfully disappointing book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott and William M. Snyder have written an exceptionally clear and honest book. While they obviously are deeply committed to communities of practice and exuberant in embracing the concept - particularly in the realm of knowledge management - they also have observed enough of these communities to see how they can fail to crystallize, can go bad or can survive but never gain recognition. This gives a distinctly realistic edge to their methodical book. The authors work through the definitions, core components and guiding principles of these communities, and describe how they fit within existing formal structures. They illustrate their claims with numerous examples. getAbstract advocates this solid introduction to communities of practice to two groups of readers: anyone interested in knowledge management and anyone interested in community development, including organizational culture.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An encouraging, practical guide 6 Feb 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a professional in the Information Management world, I have found this book SO helpful in signposting a way forward for sharing knowledge and improving practice in our area. The authors state that they wanted to create a book for practitioners, rather than a theoretical work, and I think they have succeeded admirably. For me, there is just the right mix of anecdote, theory, practical steps and real life issues. I have just finished reading it all once through. During that reading I already skipped back to dwell on chapters that will help me in my current work to "cultivate" a community of information workers. And I found that as soon as I finished the last page, I was starting again at the beginning. It has been inspiring, but I am sure it will also be a practical manual I refer to time and again.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Do your job better - because you want to 29 Sep 2002
By 50Hz
For years I've experienced a work environment where my time is cluttered with many meetings that have little to do with my real work (Information System architecture and design) and few that do. Reading through this book has given me the motivation and means to go about improving my work situation along with other colleagues who want to do a better job, simply because we want to do so.
There are plenty of practical illustrations of the concepts taken from the work place. These help you spot the starting points for your work in your own organisation. If this is your first encounter with Communities of Practice then the book is a good starting point. Making the subject accessible in a way that other academic discourses on the subject do not.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars communities of practice by etienne wenger 20 Jun 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
excellent book, easy to read, full of ideas and theories but with examples to illustrate.
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Popular Highlights

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COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE are groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis. &quote;
Highlighted by 57 Kindle users
One of the primary tasks of a community of practice is to establish this common baseline and standardize what is well understood so that people can focus their creative energies on the more advanced issues. &quote;
Highlighted by 39 Kindle users
Most important, communities of practice create value by connecting the personal development and professional identities of practitioners to the strategy of the organization. &quote;
Highlighted by 34 Kindle users

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