Please answerall3 questionsbelow:

1. What are Communities of Practice in Knowledge Management?

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Please read the Harvard Business Review article extract:

Harvard Business Review
Communities of Practice: The Organizational Frontier By Etienne C. Wenger William M. Snyder

To get a better sense of how communities of practice look in action, let’s consider the following example.

Our second example comes from Hewlett-Packard, where a community of practice consisting of product-delivery consultants from around North America holds monthly teleconferences. The community focuses on an HP software product called High Availability, which minimizes computer downtime for customers. The core group of consultants, who had been

somewhat isolated, came together a few years ago with the help of facilitators from a knowledge management support team. The members discovered that they had many problems in common and that they could learn a great deal from one another. The community has succeeded in standardizing the software’s sales and installation processes and establishing aconsistent pricing scheme for HP salespeople.

Participation in the monthly calls is voluntary, but levels of attendance are steady. For one such call, the focus was meant to be on Maureen’s experiences with a major customer for which she was installing the product. Before diving in, however, the consultants spent the first ten minutes chatting about the recent reorganization of their division—whether it was a good thing, what it meant for them, and so on.

Maureen hadn’t spent a lot of time preparing a formal presentation; she knew that only by talking directly and openly could she spur the give-and-take that would make the call worthwhile for the group. As the call proceeded, community members interrupted her constantly with questions and examples from their own experiences—all of which helped Maureen understand how to work more effectively with her clients.

The conversation then turned to a persistent bug in the software. Rob, a member of the software division that developed the product, had been invited to take part in these calls to create a stronger connection between the product-delivery consultants and software developers. He’d already worked out a way to get rid of the bug, but he learned from the stories he heard in the teleconference how to make the fix even more effective. He told the group that he would follow up during next month’s call.

As communities of practice generate

knowledge, they renew themselves. They

give you both the golden eggs and the goose that lays them.

The participants in such communities of practice were learning together by focusing on problems that

were directly related to their work. In the short term, this made their work easier or more effective; in

the long term, it helped build both their communities and their shared practices—thus developing

capabilities critical to the continuing success of the organizations.

2. What were the organisational benefits for Hewlett-Packard of forming this community of Practice?

3. Please give your own organisational example of a community of practice and explain the benefits to the organisation and the participating employees.


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