Communities of Practice and Their Structural Elements

PARTICIPATION IN THE MONTHLY TELECONFERENCE calls of the high-availability software community at Hewlett-Packard Company (HP) is voluntary, but attendance remains fairly constant. The core group came together a few years ago with the help of facilitators from a knowledge-management support team. They had been largely isolated, and discovering how many problems they had in common and how much they could learn from each other generated a lot of energy for developing a shared practice. For instance, they succeeded in standardizing the software’s sales and installation processes and establishing a consistent pricing scheme for HP salespeople. These areas had been a source of much frustration. ...

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