The purpose of this paper is to explore the premise that organizationally defined communities of practice can be a valuable strategic learning tool for management.
It is a quantitative study in a single organization. The authors analyzed data from 1,082 employees using hierarchical (multi-level) linear modeling.
Management can support learning and influence engagement and identification by defining communities of practice and establishing goals, but this is not always successful. Engagement may be a short-term phenomenon, dependent significantly on the type of practice or project in which community members are allowed or decide, to participate. Identification, on the other hand, may need practices that support longer-term individual development aims allowing and supporting the achievement of personal ambition or competence.
Future studies of organizationally defined communities of practice could use established scales to measure leadership, engagement and identification.
When implementing this type of organizationally defined community of practice, attention to the types of practices or projects to which the employees can contribute seems to be most important.
The authors show that: the dynamics within communities of practice (CoP) designed by top management teams have an impact on CoP members’ identification and engagement; organizationally defined CoP may be part of a broader landscape of professional practice (LoP); engagement, objectives and practices, and not only identification and knowledgeability, are key to the dynamics of CoP and LoP; senior management’s leadership role in setting up successful CoP is equivocal.
Macpherson, A., Kiersch, C. and Antonacopoulou, E. (2019), "Can senior management sustain engagement and identification to support learning? Designing communities and defining goals", Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 144-159. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSMA-07-2019-0136Download as .RIS
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