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Communities of practice: linking knowledge management and strategy in creative firms

Joseph Bashouri (Woodhams Meikle Zhan Architects, Auckland, New Zealand)
Glen William Duncan (Faculty of Business, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, Australia)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Article publication date: 17 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to assess the importance of knowledge and its management in the creative professional service firm (PSF). The other purpose is to explore the role of communities of practice (CoPs) in knowledge management (KM) strategies.


A single-case study approach was adopted with five open-ended semi-structured interviews conducted with middle and senior management having mainly an architectural background. The data were complemented with participant observation and reflection on experience together with conversations with work colleagues.


The findings suggest that having an appropriately balanced strategy of personalisation/codification of knowledge through CoPs contributes to the competitiveness of the firm.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides a useful exploration of KM in creative PSFs, but the results may lack generalizability because of the small scale and qualitative nature of the research. The research is limited to one firm in one country. Future research is needed to test the findings in other creative PSFs and in other countries.

Practical implications

The paper provides guidance to managers in creative PSFs on the need for positioning CoPs at the heart of the firm’s KM strategies.


The paper tests a theoretical framework on how to link strategy with KM strategy in creative PSFs.



Bashouri, J. and Duncan, G.W. (2014), "Communities of practice: linking knowledge management and strategy in creative firms", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 35 No. 6, pp. 49-57.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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