Virtual Communities of Practice

Virtual Communities of Practice

Chris Kimble (University of York, UK) and Paul Hildreth (K-Now International Ltd., UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-553-5.ch532


When knowledge management (KM) began to emerge in the 1990s it was seen as an innovative solution to the problems of managing knowledge in a competitive and increasingly internationalised business environment. However, in practice it was often little more than information management re-badged (Wilson, 2002). More recently, there has been recognition of the importance of more subtle, softer types of knowledge that need to be shared. This raises the question as to how this sort of knowledge might be managed. Communities of practice (CoPs) have been identified as means by which this type of knowledge can be nurtured, shared and sustained (Hildreth & Kimble, 2002). Do CoPs offer a means of managing the softer aspects of knowledge and, if they do, are they applicable to today’s increasingly “virtual” world?

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