Formal Work Groups and Communities of Practice

Formal Work Groups and Communities of Practice

Ji Yan (Auburn University, USA) and Dimitris Assimakopoulos (Auburn University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-556-6.ch035
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Knowledge and innovation management scholars (see, for example, Leonard-Barton, 1995; Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995) have recently emphasized the role of formal work groups, in particular, project teams, in organizational innovation and learning. In the late 1990s, the concept of communities of practice (CoPs) has also become a key concept in understanding the creation, sharing, and application of knowledge within and across organizational boundaries. This article discusses the relationship between CoPs and formal work groups, such as project teams, based on the authors’ recent empirical research in software development work in China (Yan & Assimakopoulos, 2003a, b). Moreover, this article discusses how the division of formal work groups in project teams influences the knowledge activities in CoPs.

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