By Etienne Wenger

Contemporary economic climate is fueled by way of wisdom. each chief understands this to be actual, but few have systematic tools for changing organizational wisdom into fiscal worth. This publication argues that groups of practice--groups of people shaped round universal pursuits and expertise--provide the precise car for riding knowledge-management thoughts and construction lasting aggressive virtue. Written by way of top specialists within the box, Cultivating groups of perform is the 1st publication to stipulate versions and strategies for systematically constructing those crucial teams. via compelling examine and corporate examples, together with DaimlerChrysler, McKinsey & corporation, Shell, and the area financial institution, authors Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott, and William M. Snyder exhibit how world-class firms have leveraged groups of perform to force process, generate new company possibilities, resolve difficulties, move top practices, increase staff' specialist talents, and recruit and keep most sensible expertise. Underscoring the recent vital position groups of perform are enjoying in ultra-modern wisdom financial system, Cultivating groups of perform is the definitive consultant to fostering, designing, and constructing those strong teams inside and throughout firms.

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This combination of formal and informal structures is fundamentally different from a matrix. It provides new degrees of freedom for designing organizations. 28 Relying explicitly on communities of practice fundamentally transforms the landscape of the organization. Domains of knowledge become focal points for connecting people in different units who are working on potentially related projects. The power associated with these knowledge domains becomes a more visible part of the organization. In fact, in a fast-moving knowledge economy, these domains are often more stable and enduring than specific projects, jobs, products, or even businesses.

At Procter & Gamble, for example, communities are a key component of the strategy to apply technological innovation across product lines. The process design community leverages the strategic value of deploying process innovations across various product lines by translating ideas and techniques across manufacturing operations. On the other hand, communities of practice can contribute to the formulation of new strategies. McKinsey is known as a premier strategy-consulting firm, and yet it relies largely on its communities of practice to drive the evolution of its own strategy.

A domain is not a fixed set of problems. It evolves along with the world and the community. A community of Web designers will shift its focus as languages like HTML or Java become popular or certain applets come into demand. In any domain, hot topics periodically arise and generate fresh energy. In science, most notably, each discipline has one or two burning questions that researchers pursue at any given time. As these problems are solved and new ones appear, as new technologies pose new challenges, as the next generation of members brings fresh perspectives, the community’s sense of what it is about evolves and grows.

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