Communities of practice as a mechanism of learning from others: the value of informal learning to organizations

Imagotipo CRIEDO
Any: 2013
In recent years, numerous researches and publications stress the importance of promoting models and strategies, which allow people to work collaboratively toward a common goal. From this perspective, organizations should be conscious of the significance of human groups that interact constantly instead of isolated professionals. In that way, knowledge created by individuals becomes organizational knowledge (Argyris1; García del Junco & Dutschke2; Senge3). In this sense, this paper is focused on communities of practice as a valuable asset for training and learning (Wenger4; Loyarte & Rivera5; Zang & Watts6; Gairín et al.7). because its members have created together documents that respond to the problems they find, through a tool based on ICTs.The research method employed was the case study, the multiple case studies to be precise, giving attention to communities of practices carried out in Public Administration. The study included a total of eight cases and the instruments used to collect the data were questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, the documentary analysis and discussion groups.The outcome of this paper is the identification of informal learning created through the diversity of opinions thanks to the capacity of communities of practice to put people in touch with other and the reassertion that through these structures it is easy that professionals share their experiences, impressions or proposals and create new knowledge that is useful to their daily job. The aim of this research is to emphasize collaborative work as a learning method. Organizations that have fostered communities of practice, have improved their performance.

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