Advertisement

Conceptual Tools for CoPs as Social Learning Systems: Boundaries, Identity, Trajectories and Participation

Chapter

Abstract

The term boundary often has negative connotations because it conveys limitation and lack of access. But the very notion of community of practice implies the existence of boundary. Unlike the boundaries of organizational units, which are usually well defined because affiliation is officially sanctioned, the boundaries of communities of practice are usually rather fluid. They arise from different enterprises; different ways of engaging with one another; different histories, repertoires, ways of communicating, and capabilities. That these boundaries are often unspoken does not make them less significant. Sit for lunch by a group of high energy particle physicists and you know about boundary, not because they intend to exclude you, but because you cannot figure out what they are talking about. Shared practice by its very nature creates boundaries.

Keywords

Boundary Object Conceptual Tool Full Participation Marginal Position Boundary Process 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. McDermott, R. (1999) ‘Learning across teams: how to build communities of practice in team-based organisations’. Knowledge Management Review 8(May/June):32–6.Google Scholar
  2. Star, S.L. and Griesemer, J. (1989) ‘Institutional ecology, “Translation,” and boundary objects: amateurs and professionals in Berkeley’s museum of vertebrate zoology, 1907–1939’. Social Studies of Science 19:387–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Wenger, E. (1998) Communities of practice: learning, meaning and identity. New York: Cambridge University Press, extracts reproduced with permission.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Wenger, E. (2000) ‘Communities of practice and social learning systems’, Sage Publications, 7(2):225–46. Extracts reproduced with permission.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Open University 2010

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations