Online Communities of Practice and Web 2.0

Online Communities of Practice and Web 2.0

Amir Manzoor (Bahria University, Pakistan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0417-8.ch005
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In contemporary Knowledge Management, communication and collaboration play very significant role. Knowledge exists within the stakeholders of an organization. Such knowledge, when extracted and harnessed effectively, can become an extremely valuable asset to achieve organizational goals and objectives. This knowledge, embedded in the people, must be properly released through an appropriate channel to make it usable. Through dialogue and discussions, using online tools, this release and reuses of knowledge can be made possible. The Community of Practice (CoP) is a useful organizing concept for enhancing collaboration, sharing knowledge, and disseminating best practices among researchers and practitioners. This chapter explores the concept of Communities of Practice and how Web 2.0 technologies can facilitate the transformation from a conventional community of practice to online community of practice for better and effective online communities of practices.
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Communities Of Practice

Knowledge Management System (KMS) is also a collaborative tool. KMS can be used to create virtual Communities of Practice (CoP) (Wenger, 2006; Tsai & Bagozzi, 2014). Community is a principle feature of collaboration and sharing (Wang, Noe, & Wang, 2014). According to Rao (2002), successful knowledge management heavily relies on “groups of people who work on business-relevant topics across organizational boundaries” (p. 2). The creation of conversations among groups of interested people leads to enhancement of knowledge and business practices (Bolger, 2009). A CoP develops a “shared understanding of what it does, of how to do it, and how it is related to other communities and their practices – in all, a ‘world-view’ … (CoP’s) are a sensible focus for Knowledge Management initiatives (sharing) some common language, purpose and ways of acting” (Walsham, 2001, p. 601). In the collaboration among like-minded people, the one idea that permeates is that multiple brains are better than one. CoPs also provide learning opportunities. As Sinclair (2006) puts it “we learn from our communities” and from our experiences “spending much of our lives learning from others and sharing our experiences and lessons learned with them in exchange” (p. 601). Such community learning promotes dialogue and development of concepts. This dialogue and concept building supports the transformation of tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge (Adams, Brock, Gordon, Grohs, & Kirk, 2014).

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