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Limits to Communities of Practice


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  • Joanne Roberts


The purpose of this paper is to critically explore the communities of practice approach to managing knowledge and its use among management academics and practitioners in recent years. In so doing, the aim is to identify the limits of the approach in the field of knowledge management. The paper begins with a brief description of the communities of practice approach. This is followed by a review of critiques of the approach evident in the management literature. A number of further challenges are then elaborated. The limits of communities of practice are subsequently discussed and brief conclusions drawn. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2006.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Management Studies.

Volume (Year): 43 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (05)
Pages: 623-639

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:43:y:2006:i:3:p:623-639

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Cited by:
  1. Yakhlef, Ali, 2010. "The three facets of knowledge: A critique of the practice-based learning theory," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 39-46, February.
  2. Ferguson, J.E. & Huysman, M.H., 2009. "Between ambition and approach: towards sustainable knowledge management in development organizations," Serie Research Memoranda 0003, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  3. Turner, S. & Lourenço, A., 2010. "Competition and Public Service Broadcasting: Stimulating Creativity or servicing Capital?," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp408, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
  4. Stéphanie Dameron & Emmanuel Josserand, 2009. "Le piège identitaire:identification sociale et stratégie d'acteurs dans une communauté de pratiques," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie,, vol. 12(1), pages 127-154, March.
  5. Anne Gausdal & Etty Nilsen, 2011. "Orchestrating Innovative SME Networks. The Case of “HealthInnovation”," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 586-600, December.
  6. Amin, Ash & Roberts, Joanne, 2008. "Knowing in action: Beyond communities of practice," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 353-369, March.
  7. Lamine Mebarki & Ewan Oiry, 2011. "Les communautés de pratique, un nouvel instrument pour la GRH ?," Post-Print halshs-00626875, HAL.
  8. Ferguson, Julie & Huysman, Marleen & Soekijad, Maura, 2010. "Knowledge Management in Practice: Pitfalls and Potentials for Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(12), pages 1797-1810, December.
  9. Moingeon, Bertrand & Quélin, Bertrand & Dalsace, Frédéric & Lumineau, Fabrice, 2006. "Inter-organizational communities of practice: specificities and stakes," Les Cahiers de Recherche 857, HEC Paris.
  10. Otero Gutiérrez, Beatriz & Olazaran Rodríguez, Mikel & Albizu Gallastegui, Eneka, . "Jardueran oinarritutako komunitateak enpresa txiki eta ertainetan," Revista de Dirección y Administración de Empresas, Universidad del País Vasco - Escuela Universitaria de Estudios Empresariales de San Sebastián.
  11. Lusine Arzumanyan & Ulrike Mayrhofer & Christopher Melin, 2011. "Coordinating R&D activities in multinational companies: towards new tools and practices?," Post-Print halshs-00690220, HAL.
  12. Nooteboom, B., 2007. "Cognitive Distance in and Between COP’s and Firms: Where do Exploitation and Exploration take Place, and How are they Connected?," Discussion Paper 2007-4, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.


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