The contribution of Communities of Practice on intraorganizational Knowledge Management

[Deutscher Titel: Der Beitrag von Praxisgemeinschaften zum innerbetrieblichen Wissensmanagement (Text übersetzen: Deutsch)]

Chris Kimble and Isabelle Bourdon,
Some success factors for the communal management of knowledge
International Journal of Information Management, Volume 28, Issue 6, December 2008, Pages 461-467

Abstract: This paper explores the contribution of communal structures such as Communities of Practice (CoPs) on intraorganizational Knowledge Management (KM). First, we look at intraorganizational knowledge management and explore the role that information systems can play. We introduce the idea of “Systèmes d’Aide à la Gestion des Connaissances” SAGC (Systems to aid the Management of Knowledge) and then establish our theoretical foundations concerning communal KM, especially as it relates to the structural and functional characteristics of CoPs. The results of an exploratory qualitative survey involving Chief Knowledge Officers (CKOs) of large French businesses are presented which examine the contribution that communal structures such as CoPs can make to intraorganizational KM. The results highlight some of ‘success factors’ for the communal management of knowledge. Two types of factors in particular appear to encourage the sharing of knowledge: those related to (1) the characteristics of a CoP and (2) the organizational context. The work indicates that, perhaps contrary to what might be expected, many of the key success factors are the same ‘management’ issues that can be found in almost any IS projects while some of the issues that the literature indicates are important, appear to be less so in practice.

Keywords: Knowledge management; Communities of practice; Success factors; IS implementation

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