Does the Concept of “Community of Practice” Show New Trajectories for the Evolution of Industrial Districts?
The aim of this paper is to find a framework that could be useful to evaluate the utility of the concept of “Community of Practice” (CoP) for understanding the dynamics of knowledge creation and sharing in Industrial Districts (IDs). The CoP concept stems from the managerial experience of large corporations, which have found in it a kind of “living repository” of knowledge. The source of the concept of agglomeration of firms in ID is completely different. Anyway, many similarities can be found between the concepts of ID and CoP, as well then some differences. The paper proceeds as follows. First, it explains the three main concepts useful for understanding further argumentations: knowledge, ID, CoP. Next, it offers a framework to put in comparison the two concepts of ID and CoP. In the end, an example of how the applications of tools, coming from the CoP concept, can be useful to formulate some hypotheses on the evolutionary behaviour of IDs is shown.
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