Building Sustainable Communities of Practice

Building Sustainable Communities of Practice

Bronwyn Stuckey (The University of Wollongong, Australia) and John D. Smith (Learning Alliances, USA)
Copyright: © 2004 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-200-8.ch014
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Abstract

The authors have both been involved as designers, producers and facilitators of CPsquare’s Foundations of Communities of Practice Workshop (www.cpsquare.com). Through that ongoing exposure to learning and leading in Communities of Practice (CoPs), they became convinced that stories about CoPs play a crucial role in motivation and learning for community leaders. Within communities, the swapping of stories is a means by which local theories of cause and effect are developed and contextualized. These stories provide powerful ways of invoking context, of framing choices and actions and of constructing identity (Bruner, 2002). From the context of a Community of Practice (CoP) concerned with the cultivation of CoPs, (i.e., the Foundations workshop) there is strong anecdotal evidence that stories are of equal value to practitioners and researchers alike. As part of an extended research activity, and parallel to this growing conviction about stories, Stuckey analysed the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) raised over six iterations of the workshop. The ten most frequently asked questions became the basis of semi-structured interviews held with the developers and managers of the communities described in this chapter. The chapter presents the essence of seven community cases and is intended as an enticement to explore the full case descriptions and community stories (which are beyond the limitations of this printed publication) at http://www.cpsquare.org/cases/.

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