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Communities of Practice

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Communities of Practice

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Samenvatting

This paper is about helping human resource development professionals to understand how community of practice theory can inform the design of learning-based programs in order to link individual and organizational learning better. Learning is often considered a major contributor to the success or failure of an organization and, through learning, organizations develop new, and possibly rare competencies that enables them to gain or sustain a lasting competitive advantage and continued sustainable growth. This is an investment in human capital. The purpose of this research is thus to see how communities of practice, as part of a management development trajectory, can serve as the link between individual and organizational learning thus increasing effectiveness of the program. An analytical inductive approach was taken to the research. First, a review of the literature on communities of practice, individual, group and organizational learning led to the development of an analytical framework for understanding learning at each level, and how they could be linked. Quantitative data from participant surveys and qualitative data from a longitudinal case study was used to test the framework. The research showed that individual learning and group innovation are intertwined process occurring naturally in communities of practice. According to the analytical framework developed for this study, organizing communities of practice as part of human resource development trajectories is a valid strategy for increasing their effectiveness. The research has some limitations. For example, factors important to the functioning of the community of practice itself were not assessed or considered. Variations in learning might be attributed to the quality of implementation, guidance, or other unknown reasons and so might have affected the results. There are several practical implications to this work. Most important is the framework for understanding how communities of practice are linked to organizational learning - this can help designers of management development trajectories to improve effectiveness. Also, the added value of human resource development programs can be easier shown. This research is original in being a first attempt at empirically linking human resource development trajectories, communities of practice and organizational learning.

Toon meer
OrganisatieHogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen
Opleiding
InstituutKenniscentrum Kwaliteit van Leren
LectoraatInnovatie van Leren in Organisaties
Gepubliceerd in
Jaar2010
TypeConferentiebijdrage
TaalEngels

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