Actually the title is: A Facilitators’ Perspective on Successful Virtual Communities of Practice.
Late in 2006 I was honoured to participate in a study led by Halbana Tarmizi (of the University of Nebraska at Omaha) about the trends and characteristics of successful CoPs, with other five practitioners. The results are out and will be presented at the 13th America’s Conference on Information Systems in Keystone, Colorado, in August 2007.
This is the abstract:
Communities of Practice have become a key instrument in organizational knowledge management. Understanding characteristics of successful CoP can help in avoiding failed communities. Facilitator can contribute in helping communities to thrive. Facilitators’ experience dealing with communities and its members can help in understanding more about surrounding issue of successful community. In this study, we tried to answer the research question: what are the common characteristics of successful virtual communities of practice? We asked experience communities of practice facilitators regarding their experience in facilitating successful communities. Several common characteristics of successful communities of practice are identified and discussed.
And this is the nugget:
The initial finding from our study indicated that successful communities of practice share several common characteristics, while they differ in others. Those common characteristics include:
- serving operational purposes, i.e., daily operation, rather than strategic purposes;
- not based on temporary basis;
- involving more than one work unit/organization/institution;
- membership is based on voluntary basis; and
- topics are highly relevant to community members.
Which I thoroughly agree with.
As soon as there’s a URL for the full paper, I’ll try to post it here.