Using a CoP to Enhance Knowledge Sharing in IT

Using a CoP to Enhance Knowledge Sharing in IT

Communities of Practice are a common knowledge sharing or transfer technique. In a Community of Practice, groups of individuals share knowledge about a common work practice over a period of time, although they are not part of a formally constituted work team. Communities of Practice often cut across traditional organizational boundaries. The purpose of this organizational structure is to enable individuals to acquire new knowledge more quickly. Jakobson (2008) documented the use of Communities of Practice at the Des Moines-based Weitz Company. Weitz implemented Communities of Practice as a way of enabling its workforce, which exhibited a wide diversity in ages, to collaborate more effectively. Weitz invested in its employees through a variety of methods, including job rotation, shadowing programs, executive internships and mentoring.

However, older Weitz employees were suspicious that the mentoring program was designed to drain their experience before terminating them. To counter this negative feeling about mentoring, Weitz created Communities of Practice in which junior and senior employees came together to share best practices; thus, the senior employees were not just offloading knowledge.

Jakobson, L. (2008, February). Save the knowledge. Incentive, 182(2), 42-43.

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