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Learning in Knowledge Communities:: Managing Technology and Context


  • Barrett, Michael
  • Cappleman, Sam
  • Shoib, Gamila
  • Walsham, Geoff


In contemporary organizations, significant emphasis is placed on the processes of knowledge sharing and learning, which are increasingly seen as crucial to organizational success. Information and communication technologies play an important role in these areas, but to many there is a lack of clarity regarding how such technologies can be best deployed. In this article, we provide a wide range of examples of where technology has been used to support learning in knowledge communities, with varying degrees of success. We use this material to develop specific characteristics of effective knowledge communities, and detail ways in which both the context and the technology should be managed. A key message we derive is that the maintenance of a supportive culture and context for learning and knowledge sharing is crucial, and that an integrated approach to technology deployment and use needs to be developed in conjunction with this. We argue that action in this arena is important for all levels and functions of management, not just senior managers or IT staff, since the support of effective learning and knowledge sharing in and between communities involves everyone in the organization in all job roles.

Suggested Citation

  • Barrett, Michael & Cappleman, Sam & Shoib, Gamila & Walsham, Geoff, 2004. "Learning in Knowledge Communities:: Managing Technology and Context," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 1-11, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eurman:v:22:y:2004:i:1:p:1-11

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eric von Hippel, 1994. ""Sticky Information" and the Locus of Problem Solving: Implications for Innovation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(4), pages 429-439, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:pal:jorsoc:v:60:y:2009:i:11:d:10.1057_jors.2008.182 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Muilu Toivo & Kotavaara Niina, 2011. "Diffusion, social structure and functioning of scientific rural networks: comparison of European and Finish examples," European Countryside, De Gruyter Open, vol. 3(1), pages 66-82, January.
    3. repec:pal:jorsoc:v:60:y:2009:i:5:d:10.1057_palgrave.jors.2602613 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Fuller, Johann & Jawecki, Gregor & Muhlbacher, Hans, 2007. "Innovation creation by online basketball communities," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 60-71, January.
    5. Johnston, Wesley J. & Peters, Linda D. & Gassenheimer, Jule, 2006. "Questions about network dynamics: Characteristics, structures, and interactions," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 59(8), pages 945-954, August.
    6. Gyewan Moon & Suk Bong Choi & Shaikh Javed Fardin, 2016. "Organisational factors for effective knowledge sharing: an empirical study of Korean learning teams," International Journal of Business Innovation and Research, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 10(1), pages 102-120.


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