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Identifying the success factors of Communities of Practice (CoPs): How do they affect on students to create knowledge?

Peyman Akhavan (Malek Ashtar University of Technology)
Babaeianpour Marzieh (Department of Management, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran)
Masoumeh Mirjafari (Department of Management, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran)


ISSN: 0305-5728

Article publication date: 11 May 2015




This paper aims to identify the success factors of communities of practice (CoPs) that will improve knowledge creation (KC) in educational organizations. Today, educational organizations are faced with constant changes in their environment. These changes have forced organizations to view their human capital as knowledge capital to survive and thrive. CoPs can be one of the most important factors to achieve these goals, and it should be considered by educational organizations.


The present paper tries to identify the success factors of CoPs and examine the impact of the success factors of CoPs in KC. The research method is descriptive. The population of the research consists of students of Payame Noor University as a case study. A questionnaire based on experts’ opinion was designed and more than 35 articles were reviewed. Factor analysis was used to categorize and examine the correlation between success factors of CoPs and KC and, finally, the regression equation based on correlation’ result was formed.


The results showed six success factors: “organization”, “optimizing interactions”, “infrastructure”, “supporting tools”, “strategy and goals” and “organizational support”. These factors reflect the effective factors in educational organizations attempting to progress in KC should focus. Among these success factors, “strategy and goals” and “organization” have the highest effect on CoPs in this case.

Research limitations/implications

The paper discusses how the success factors of CoPs improve KC in universities as educational organization and how an organization will benefit from these factors. It can help the development of guidelines for educational organizations to increase their community knowledge information. They can also apply the findings of this research to promote the scientific level of their related organizations through reinforcement of CoP practices. In this paper, the authors faced some problems to collect expert’s opinion and also gather the questionnaires.


This paper may have great value to researchers, as well as practitioners involved in knowledge-creation programs in organizations about CoPs and the knowledge-creation field. This research can establish guidelines for Payame Noor University Tehran-North as a case study using the right policies and make changes to the traditional structures of the university, improve and develop the knowledge-creation process and the formation of CoPs. This study can guide managers and, especially, the university managers to provide suitable base to shape COPs, help them emerge and enhance them effectively.



Akhavan, P., Marzieh, B. and Mirjafari, M. (2015), "Identifying the success factors of Communities of Practice (CoPs): How do they affect on students to create knowledge?", VINE, Vol. 45 No. 2, pp. 198-213.



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