Hints for Rethinking Communities of Practice in Public Administration: An Analysis from Real Practice

Hints for Rethinking Communities of Practice in Public Administration: An Analysis from Real Practice

Joaquín Gairín (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain), David Rodríguez-Gómez (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain) and Aleix Barrera-Corominas (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0013-1.ch006
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Abstract

Communities of Practice (CoP) have become one of the most widely used strategies for promoting Knowledge Creation and Management (KCM) processes in Public Administration. This chapter is based on some of the practical research and consultancy carried out by the Organisational Development Team from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (http://edo.uab.cat) over the last 10 years, presenting some ideas to facilitate the introduction of improvements in the usual functioning of CoP in the public administration. Specifically, the purpose of this chapter is twofold: (1) to analyse the procedures of KCM by means of CoP in the public administration and through the intensive use of technology; and (2) to suggest elements which may allow us to rethink and improve CoP. The main results indicate that the most important factors in determining CoP participation are related in greater measure to personal processes (interest in change, curiosity, commitment to innovation, profile within the CoP) than to circumstances (professional category, age or seniority).
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Background

A changing society requires organizations to adapt and review their coherence and how they act in relation to the needs of their surroundings. Socioeconomic and technological developments, together with current education trends and constant labor market reforms, require a profound review of traditional organizational models and foster the promotion of organizational development processes and innovations to adapt to the new context. Innovation was a goal for creative and cutting-edge organizations a few decades ago but has now become a general necessity and a problem that is constantly addressed at different levels (i.e., society, organizations and individuals) and with different strategies.

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