Collective Learning with CoPs

Collective Learning with CoPs

P.A.C. Smith (The Leadership Alliance Inc., Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-556-6.ch006
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Like it or not, CoPs are awash in assumptions, and we presume validity at our peril in organizational contexts that are increasingly complex and ambiguous. If we wish to successfully address issues via CoPs, it is critical that members continually, individually, and jointly question their suppositions, evolve fresh questions out of their ignorance, and share relevant knowledge. Although CoPs clearly have the potential to do this, in the author’s experience, little attention is paid by CoP members to the processes of either individual or collective learning that would facilitate achieving such ends. The ability to think things through and debrief experiences at non-trivial personal and contextual levels is increasingly recognized as essential to effective learning in all situations, including CoPs. Action Learning (AL) is a well-proven individual, collective, and organizational development philosophy (McGill & Brookbank, 2004) that provides a sound setting for such reflective inquiry. Its application in CoP settings seems to be largely undocumented or untried.

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