Cultivating effective communities of practice

In order to successfully implement communities of practice in organization there are seven principles involved (Wenger, McDermott, and Snyder, 2002; Cross, 1998). They are explained as follows:

i. Design for Evolution: Communities of people are common, designing them is more important. Communities are the personal networks that helpful to organization in many ways. In communities, the dynamic nature is a key to their evolution.

ii. Open a Dialogue between Inside and Outside Perspectives: The design requires is about inside perspectives. It is to tell about, what the community is about. The organization knows what is required for the output. Good design brings the best result to the organization. The one who understand the issues in the organization tells how to develop that in the community. One should realize the issues in the community are less in technology and more about the business issues in developing the technology.

iii. Invite different levels of Participation: Good community invites different levels of participation. They consider all the activities about the person who are in the community and increase their value, improve their skills and knowledge. They encourage all the community members to participate equally.

iv. Develop both public and private community spaces: The dynamic communities are rich in both public and private community. The public communities are the websites and meetings. The private communities are one to one networking and the people interact with each other. Both communities are interrelated, they develop both network.

v. Focus on Value: Value is most important key of community. The good communities increase the value in both private and public community. The communities must increase the value of organization to show themselves as community member. So, the community member’s value increased in the organization.

vi. Combine Familiarity and Excitement: Successful communities show their interest to give new ideas and new people to the community. They arrange the projects, teleconferences and a regular meeting to discuss about the ongoing activities. They conduct the exciting events to develop the knowledge.

vii. Create a rhythm for the community: They create a rhythm for their daily activities like waking up, getting ready for work, checking mail, attend the meetings and so on. Regular meetings, websites and teleconferences are the heart of good communities. All the communities that follow the rhythm are the key to community’s development.

On adapting the above mentioned steps organizations can efficiently implement communities of practice and thereby creating a flexible and innovative work environment.


  • Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Snyder, W. M. (2002). Cultivatingcommunities of practice: A guide to managing knowledge. Boston: Harvard Business School Press
  • Cross, K. P. (1998, July-August). Why learning communities? Whynow? About Campus, 411. Retrieved Dec 25, 2011, from http://
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