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Help with article on communities of practice

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  • davidraths@yahoo.com
    Hello, I am a freelance writer for InfoWorld, a weekly publication for information technology executives. I am working on a feature story for their management
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 26, 2001
      Hello,

      I am a freelance writer for InfoWorld, a weekly publication for
      information technology executives. I am working on a feature story for
      their management and careers section on communities of practice within
      IT organizations. I talked to John Smith today and he suggested I pose
      a question to this group. One thing he and others have suggested is
      that IT communities might tend to be more likely than others to extend
      beyond the boundaries of a single corporation or organization, because
      sharing anecdotes and experiences concerning vendors, software, etc. is
      so valuable for people in IT to put their own experience in context. If
      anyone in this group has experience working with communities in IT
      organizations, I'd like to hear about your experience. Or if you have
      any IT contacts that have experience with communities of practice, I'd
      like to hear about that too. I live in Portland, Oregon. You can
      contact me directly at: davidraths@... or call me at (503) 233-
      0773. My deadline is Oct. 5.

      Thank you.
    • Scott Allen
      [Forgive the cross-posting, but I thought it particularly relevant to both groups] David: I participate in quite a few online communities, many focused around
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 30, 2001
        [Forgive the cross-posting, but I thought it particularly relevant to both
        groups]

        David:

        I participate in quite a few online communities, many focused around IT.
        Frankly, I think you're right in your observation, but missing the mark
        completely as to why. I think that it's not so much that IT people are more
        likely than others to extend beyond the boundaries of a single corporation
        or organization because of higher value for them , but that IT people are
        more likely than others to participate in largely virtual CoP's that aren't
        based on face-to-face interaction, the company e-mail system, and whatever
        other CoP support tools the company may provide. Add to that the mobility
        of the IT workforce, and I think you can see why the boundaries of the
        company or organization aren't as "real" to the IT community.

        Members of the IT community have a natural affinity for the medium and don't
        suffer from the barriers of technophobia that most other communities do.
        They do the bulk of their work at a computer. It's familiar to them, and
        they are comfortable with it. IT people tend to use a variety of tools.
        Let's just say it -- they're gadget freaks. So, using a new community or
        collaboration tool doesn't create a barrier for them -- in fact, it may even
        be an incentive, since they are interested in being exposed to new tools in
        that domain.

        Also, by virtue of the fact that they work at their computers, they are able
        to participate in virtual communities in small doses -- an e-mail here, a
        few minutes online there. And they're accustomed to multi-tasking at the
        computer, as opposed to people who do sequential tasking. This, too,
        facilitates low-cost participation in virtual communities.

        So, bottom line -- people participate more when the "cost" is lower --
        money, time, cognitive effort, etc. Participation in virtual communities is
        generally lower cost than face-to-face communities, and this is true even
        more so for IT people. Take an economic view, considering the cost as well
        as the benefit, and I think you'll see some different factors to consider as
        to why this phenomenon occurs.

        Scott Allen
        VP of Professional Services
        Mongoose Technology, Inc.
        281-461-0099 x111
        scott.allen@...
        www.mongoosetech.com


        -----Original Message-----
        From: davidraths@... [mailto:davidraths@...]
        Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2001 3:00 PM
        To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [cp] Help with article on communities of practice


        Hello,

        I am a freelance writer for InfoWorld, a weekly publication for
        information technology executives. I am working on a feature story for
        their management and careers section on communities of practice within
        IT organizations. I talked to John Smith today and he suggested I pose
        a question to this group. One thing he and others have suggested is
        that IT communities might tend to be more likely than others to extend
        beyond the boundaries of a single corporation or organization, because
        sharing anecdotes and experiences concerning vendors, software, etc. is
        so valuable for people in IT to put their own experience in context. If
        anyone in this group has experience working with communities in IT
        organizations, I'd like to hear about your experience. Or if you have
        any IT contacts that have experience with communities of practice, I'd
        like to hear about that too. I live in Portland, Oregon. You can
        contact me directly at: davidraths@... or call me at (503) 233-
        0773. My deadline is Oct. 5.

        Thank you.




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