A systematic framework for analysing the critical success factors of communities of practice

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Abstract:

PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to briefly illustrate the test of an explanatory framework of the factors affecting the success of internal communities of practice (CoPs). Design/methodology/approachThe analysis is based on a qualitative case study of the formation and management of intentionally created CoPs inside a large division of a multinational oil company. FindingsThe results of the study appear to confirm the utility of the framework as a tool for a sound and systematic investigation of the functioning of a CoP, and for understanding the reasons of its success or failure Research limitations/implicationsSince it if the first attempt to test the framework, further empirical investigation is needed. In particular, it would be particularly useful to apply the scheme to cases of failure. Practical implicationsThe suggested framework can be of use for the design and management of intentionally created CoPs. In particular, it can provide insights into "good practices" or "mistakes to be avoided". Originality/valueThe main contribution of the paper is the application of a comprehensive and coherent model, which can represent the initial step toward the definition of a "check-list" for the creation and management of CoPs.

Keywords: Case studies; Communities; Critical success factors; Knowledge management; Oil industry

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/13673270910997105

Publication date: October 23, 2009

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