How Information Technologies Can Help Build and Sustain an Organization's CoP: Spanning the Socio-Technical Divide?

How Information Technologies Can Help Build and Sustain an Organization's CoP: Spanning the Socio-Technical Divide?

Laurence Lock Lee (Computer Sciences Corporation, Australia) and Mark Neff (Computer Sciences Corporation, USA)
Copyright: © 2004 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-200-8.ch015
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Communities of Practice (CoPs) are seen as a primary vehicle for knowledge sharing across large and disparate organizations. It is therefore expected that technology will play a critical role in enabling global CoPs. The usefulness of Information Technologies (IT) to support CoP activity in two large, but quite different, global organizations is analysed and common themes developed. BHP Billiton is one of the world’s largest diversified resource companies, with a strong industrial heritage and a mix of blue and white collar workers and levels of IT literacy. CSC is one the world’s leading IT service providers, with a highly IT literate staff and a relatively sophisticated IT support environment. Both organizations could be considered early adopters of the CoP concept. This chapter tracks their evolution and the lessons learned along the way. The common themes arising from comparing and contrasting these two experiences mostly reflect the socio-technical challenges faced when enabling CoPs by the use of IT. In both organizations, the adoption of the newer collaborative tools is slower than anticipated, with the tried and tested face-to-face, teleconferencing and e-mail alive and well. The rule of people first, technology second is reinforced in both organizations. Technology adoption was far more successful as a response to CoP demand than a technology push. Where technologies are deployed, the level and degree of support was critical. The commitment of CoPs to a particular tool is fragile and easily lost through inconsistent performance of the technology. As well as facilitating CoPs, IT also plays an important role in developing measures and metrics for supporting CoPs as a value adding business resource. The ability to digitally track CoP activity provides an additional value-adding role for IT. While the usefulness of IT to support CoPs has largely been oversold in the past, BHP Billiton and CSC are two organizations that have persevered and learned from their respective experiences, to the extent that IT is now playing a key role in sustaining healthy and valuable CoP programmes.

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Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Michael A. Fontaine, David R. Millen
Organizations are increasingly providing Communities of Practice with resources to improve the exchange and flow of knowledge and information.... Sample PDF
Understanding the Benefits and Impact of Communities of Practice
Chapter 2
Eric L. Lesser, Michael A. Fontaine
Many organizations have invested a significant amount of time, energy and resources in overcoming intra-organizational barriers to sharing... Sample PDF
Overcoming Knowledge Barriers with Communities of Practice: Lessons Learned Through Practical Experience
Chapter 3
Valerie A. Martin, Tally Hatzakis, Mark Lycett
There is a perceived gap between the Information Technology (IT) and the Business function in many organizations, which can lead to poor working... Sample PDF
Cultivating a Community of Practice Between Business and IT
Chapter 4
Donald Hislop
This chapter examines knowledge sharing between Communities of Practice, a relatively neglected topic of study. Theory and evidence is presented to... Sample PDF
The Paradox of Communities of Practice: Knowledge Sharing Between Communities
Chapter 5
Andrew Schenkel
This chapter explores the influence that rich media has on learning in a Community of Practice (CoP) at a large multi-billion dollar infrastructure... Sample PDF
Investigating the Influence that Media Richness has on Learning in a Community of Practice: A Case Study at Oresund Bridge
Chapter 6
Maarten de Laat, Wim Broer
Managing knowledge in large organizations is a challenge in itself. Modern views on Knowledge Management (KM) focus not only on finding ways to... Sample PDF
CoPs for Cops: Managing and Creating Knowledge through Newworked Expertise
Chapter 7
Roger Kolbotn
This chapter concentrates on Communities of Practice (CoPs) in the volunteer organization Royal National Lifeboat Institution. It argues that... Sample PDF
Communities of Practice in the Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Chapter 8
Susanne Justesen
This chapter is about innovation in Communities of Practice and introduces the term innoversity, which describes the role of diversity in fostering... Sample PDF
Innoversity in Communities of Practice
Chapter 9
Anders Lundkvist
In the computer and software business, it is common practice to involve users in problem solving and sharing of experiences, not only between a... Sample PDF
User Networks as Sources of Innovation
Chapter 10
Brook Manville
Most discussions of Communities of Practice (CoP) place them in the context of a primarily internal-to-the-organization approach to managing... Sample PDF
Building Customer Communities of Practice for Business Value: Success Factors Profiled from Saba Software and Other Case Studies
Chapter 11
John Moran, Lee Weimer
This chapter presents a case study of the creation and evolution of a fee-based, multi-company Community of Practice (CoP) for Chief Information... Sample PDF
Creating a Multi-Company Community of Practice for Chief Information Officers
Chapter 12
Benjamin Frost, Stefan Schoen
This chapter is about the question of what creates and sustains viability in Communities of Practice (CoPs) embedded in an organizational context.... Sample PDF
Viable Communities within Organizational Contexts: Creating and Sustaining Viability in Communities of Practice at Siemens AG
Chapter 13
Wesley C. Vestal, Kimberly Lopez
Organizations continually look for ways to do more with less. One of the most important methods today for helping improve the company bottom line... Sample PDF
Best Practices: Developing Communities that Provide Business Value
Chapter 14
Bronwyn Stuckey, John D. Smith
The authors have both been involved as designers, producers and facilitators of CPsquare’s Foundations of Communities of Practice Workshop... Sample PDF
Building Sustainable Communities of Practice
Chapter 15
Laurence Lock Lee, Mark Neff
Communities of Practice (CoPs) are seen as a primary vehicle for knowledge sharing across large and disparate organizations. It is therefore... Sample PDF
How Information Technologies Can Help Build and Sustain an Organization's CoP: Spanning the Socio-Technical Divide?
Chapter 16
Pete Bradshaw, Stephen Powell, Ian Terrell
This chapter looks at the work of a team of remote workers and how they have developed into a Community of Practice (CoP). It explores the roles... Sample PDF
Building a Community of Practice: Technological and Social Implications for a Distributed Team
Chapter 17
Lisa Kimball, Amy Ladd
The boundaries of a Community of Practice (CoP) have changed significantly because of changes in organizations and the nature of the work they do.... Sample PDF
Facilitator Toolkit for Building and Sustaining Virtual Communities of Practice
Chapter 18
Emmanuelle Vaast
This chapter examines how members of local Communities of Practice (CoPs) have appropriated intranet systems and how their use of these systems has... Sample PDF
The Use of Intranets: The Missing Link Between Communities of Practice and Networks of Practice?
Chapter 19
Robin Teigland, Wasko
In an effort to replicate Communities of Practice online, organizations are investing in Information Technologies that create intra-organizational... Sample PDF
Extending Richness with Reach: Participation and Knowledge Exchange in Electronic Networks of Practice
Chapter 20
John S. Storck, Lauren E. Storck
The phrase “leading from behind” is borrowed from group analytic theory, an important branch of group psychology. For some, the phrase may be... Sample PDF
Trusting the Knowledge of Large Online Communities: Strategies for Leading from Behind
Chapter 21
Elisabeth Davenport
This chapter reflects on work to create computer-supported Communities of Practice among small enterprises in the tourism sector and to establish a... Sample PDF
Double Agents: Visible and Invisible Work in an Online Community of Practice
Chapter 22
Shawn Callahan
ActKM is a Community of Practice for people interested in public sector Knowledge Management. Having begun in 1998, the community now numbers more... Sample PDF
Cultivating a Public Sector Knowledge Management Community of Practice
Chapter 23
Nancy White
This chapter notes the shift of focus from “online communities” to more purposeful and focused online groups, including distributed Communities of... Sample PDF
Click Connect and Coalesce for NGOs: Exploring the Intersection Between Online Networks, CoPs, and Events
Chapter 24
Patricia Gongla, Christine R. Rizzuto
Experience has been gained and a body of literature is building about how Communities of Practice (CoPs) within organizations are formed. We are... Sample PDF
Where Did That Community Go? Communities of Practice That "Disappear"
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