Enabling Stories: Narrative, Leadership, Learning and Identity in a Faculty-Based Teaching Community of Practice

  • Wendy Green
  • Aaron Ruutz
  • Luke Houghton
  • Raymond Hibbins


This chapter explores the potential of communities of practice (CoPs) in universities to foster academic identity and social learning through a critical, reflective account of a faculty-based teaching community of practice (T-CoP). This ‘T-CoP’ is situated in a multi-disciplinary, multi-campus business faculty in a large Australian university. Our chapter begins by situating the T-CoP within its disciplinary, faculty, institutional and national contexts, and explaining how and why we intentionally designed it in order to foster inclusion and shared ownership. Key findings from our ongoing critical participatory action research project conducted in, and with the T-CoP are interrogated in order to address the following three questions. Firstly, how can we develop leaders, and a practice of distributed leadership, appropriate to the work of CoPs in universities? Secondly, how might CoPs in universities counter the still dominant traditional paradigm of ‘professional development’ as acquisition, and encourage their members to move towards more transformational approaches to professional learning? Thirdly, how do we negotiate the tensions between the need for a CoP to develop its own distinctive identity as a community and domain of practice and yet remain open and accessible to new members?


Academic identity Communities of practice Distributed leadership Narrative inquiry 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wendy Green
    • 1
  • Aaron Ruutz
    • 2
  • Luke Houghton
    • 3
  • Raymond Hibbins
    • 4
  1. 1.Tasmanian Institute of Learning and TeachingUniversity of TasmaniaLauncestonAustralia
  2. 2.Griffith CollegeMt GravattAustralia
  3. 3.International Business and Asian Studies, Griffith Business SchoolGriffith UniversityNathanAustralia
  4. 4.Griffith Business SchoolGriffith UniversityNathanAustralia

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