This week’s readings focused on the concept of communities of practice. These groups engage a collection of individuals who share a craft and provide opportunities for them to learn from each other through social participation. Structurally, a CoP must incorporate three elements, including a domain of knowledge, a community that provides the social fabric for sharing that knowledge, and a practice around which the community develops. CoPs offer benefits to organizations including a decrease in learning curves for new employees, a faster response to customers, a reduction in redundant work, and a platform for innovation for new products and services. Communities of practice differ from project teams because, unlike project teams, CoPs are organically created and have varying objectives. Project teams tend to have a single goal and dissolve once the project is finished.
The CoP concept is being utilized in all types of companies and organizations, including but not limited to government, education, the social sector, international development, and the internet.