Knowledge sharing in communities of practice – problems and perspectives in practice Communities of practice are by no means a new phenomenon. They have existed always and come forth in situations where individuals embark on a joint enterprise. They exist everywhere, be that at the work place, in school, at home, which means that they are a part of our everyday life. In an organizational perspective communities of practices become interesting in effect of their ability to create an environment for the sharing and generating of knowledge. In modern society knowledge has become an organizations’ most viable competitive advantage when competing in a changeable global market. In an optimal scenario communities of practices serve as a link between individual knowledge and organizational knowledge. This happens due to the following process; members of a community of practice come together through mutual engagement in shared enterprises, which then creates a shared repertoire. With the proper initiatives communities of practice prepare the ground for the conversion of individual knowledge into organizational knowledge. Also, connection to other communities of practice make an essential link in terms of creating new knowledge and building bridge between the different communities of practices within the organization. Derived from the above it is relevant to study communities of practices and knowledge sharing and which obstacles an organization faces when operating with these challenges. The purpose of this thesis is to, analyze how knowledge sharing amongst entrepreneurs is facilitated in a community of practice. I was concerned with the obstacles connected with improving knowledge sharing. In order to answer the main question of the thesis, I therefore conducted an empirical study of an organization. For this purpose I chose a project facility for social and cultural entrepreneurs called KPH. This provided the possibility to look into the problem statement in practice. And on this basis I got the following results: The study showed a clear tendency amongst the respondents. In order to facilitate knowledge sharing in a community of practice, the participants need transparency in terms of who possesses the different types of knowledge, which in turn will create the possibility for new communities of practices to come forth. Furthermore, the different project groups in a community as KPH primarily engage in pursuing the goals of their respective projects rather than engaging in the community with other projects – this becomes a predominant obstacle in terms of facilitating knowledge sharing. Knowledge sharing in a community of practice does not happen merely by putting different individuals together. In order to optimize and facilitate knowledge sharing in a community of practice emphasis has to be put on both knowledge sharing as a social process and the organizational setting that provides the foundation of the knowledge sharing process. The empirical study showed that without the proper organizational effort knowledge sharing becomes an unachievable goal. In this connection, there is a need for a person responsible for knowledge sharing within an organization. The communities of practice in a practice environment are, as mentioned above, characterized by being constituted by individuals that interact in a social context creating strong social network ties within the community. Individuals chose to interact and share knowledge with people with whom they have a strong social connection. This, however, challenge the possibility for individuals interacting with members of other communities which could expand an organization’s knowledge base.
|Educations||MA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||91|