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RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP

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  • John David Smith
    But Fred, wouldn t you agree that around a community of practice there may need to be a governance mechanism? If a community requires resources or produces
    Message 1 of 18 , Aug 8, 2011
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      But Fred, wouldn’t you agree that around a community of practice there may need to be a governance mechanism?  If a community requires resources or produces artifacts of some sort, it may need to have some way of taking care of them: when the midwives were learning in the Yucatan many years ago, this wasn’t an issue but in this day and age, resources (including platforms like yahoogroups) usually have owners and legal mechanisms.  Whether we like it or not.

       

      In CPsquare we’ve just been doing a marathon look at various non-secular communities of practice.  It depends what scale you look at, but some of these communities are very long lived.  Like thousands of years.  Josh Plaskoff and Estee Solomon Gray argued that the social structures and mechanisms in Judaism corresponded exactly to the theories we use to think about communities of practice, so they were saying: they are one and the same.  And within Judaism there are organizations galore.  And within some of those organizations they are supporting many communities of practice, with all the risks that “support” entails.  So no hard & fast answers, in my opinion.

       

      I’ve become convinced that even though Wenger, McDermott & Snyder tried to be very clear that what they were talking about was not necessarily a corporate phenomenon, the conversation as been largely organization-oriented (and secular).  There is much to be learned about how communities function, propagate themselves, and coexist with organizations from looking at religious and spiritual examples.

       

      Lest we go meta, too fast and irreversibly, I would ask Andrew whether he can find any examples that are working (however imperfectly) in his vicinity.   I think we see that communities of practice are very hardy and can exist in a lot of different settings (although every setting will influence behavior and, possibly, success).

       

      John

      * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd

      * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net

      * Got ilk?

       

      From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Fred Nickols
      Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 4:10 PM
      To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP

       

       

      G'day, Andrew. I assume you're an Aussie because my Kiwi friends tell me they don't use that greeting.

      I don't think you'll like my response to your inquiry but I'll send it along anyway.

      If you're looking for a "governance" mechanism in relation to a CoP, then I submit to you that you (or your sponsor or boss or whomever) isn't really interested in a real CoP. CoPs are "communities of practice" and they are not governed and especially not by any outside agency.

      So I ask you in return, what kind of group are you trying to establish that requires a "governance mechanism"?

      Fred Nickols

      --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "Andrew Mahar" <andrew@...> wrote:
      >
      > G'day,
      >
      > I am working on assisting in the establishment of a CoP looking at making more efficient and effective use of technology in community service organisations.
      >
      > I am looking for any governance model and advice that people may have that may assist me.
      >
      > best wishes
      >
      > andrew
      >

    • Jacqueline Saldana
      Hello Guys,   I have been seen your communication thread and could not avoid to provide you with some insights about CoPs’ governance models. I have worked
      Message 2 of 18 , Aug 9, 2011
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        Hello Guys,

         

        I have been seen your communication thread and could not avoid to provide you with some insights about CoPs’ governance models. I have worked and studied extensively CoPs as part of my doctoral dissertation. Reality is the concept of CoP is today a strategy organizations use intentionally to spread knowledge and innovation. In my experience managing CoPs, the best governance structure is the one that emerges from within the membership. It is important to remember that shared leadership is a main characteristic of the CoP culture. Be also ready to deal with the 20/80 rule. Only 10% to 20% of community members produce concrete outcomes whereas from 90% to 80% of the membership are “passive consumers.” Engaging peripheral groups is a continual challenge to the majority of established CoPs. Creating a committee of volunteers willing to “champion” the community is a good start but the organization must let the CoP drive itself and this include building a network of collaborations that develop character, professional identify, and working methods. I have seen CoPs developed wonderful professional cultures, all different from each other in governance structure but all successful in performance because the working culture is based on inherent characteristics of a profession. 

         

        Please, see the excerpt below which confirms findings from emergent CoP theory. I am not including the list references, but this list is available if your have further interest.

         

        Today CoPs’ structures vary ranging from voluntary informal networks to globally dispersed project teams (Li, Grimshaw, Nielsen, Judd, et al., 2009). Professional CoPs usually do not develop mechanisms and protocols. CoPs are not formal departments, operational teams, or business units. Although all these structures share some characteristics, the CoP is the only group in which members are self-selected based on expertise or passion for a topic which evolves organically as long as members find value in their common interest. Some organizations take intentional steps to legitimize and support CoPs, which results in the institutionalization of communities forced to defend their jurisdictions and group identify (Ferlie, Fitzgerald, Wood, & Hawkins, 2005). Institutionalization (Wenger, McDermott, & Snyder, 2002) happens as result of organizations trying to align their objectives to the goals of groups of practitioners. The process of institutionalization is a delicate process structurally and culturally because requires the introduction of formal guidelines to legitimize CoPs and their roles as custodians of knowledge within informal associations.

                    Koliba and Gajda (2009) identified degree of formalization as one research variable to consider as the theory of CoP evolves. Professional CoPs today manifest different degrees of formalization relatively to their role and use within professional organizations. Wenger (et al.) explained that the focus of successful CoPs in professional organizations should be to institutionalize CoPs to integrate their overall function to the organization. Organizations should promote only guidelines to elicit genuine passion for knowledge sharing, enabling them to safeguard knowledge for both professional and organizational benefits. The organic, informal, and spontaneous nature of CoPs challenges organizations that want to nurture CoPs because these are resistant to supervision and managerial intervention (Wenger & Snyder, 2004).

         

        Respectfully,

         

        Jackie Saldana

                     



        --- On Tue, 8/9/11, John David Smith <john.smith@...> wrote:

        From: John David Smith <john.smith@...>
        Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
        To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Tuesday, August 9, 2011, 4:25 AM

         

        But Fred, wouldn’t you agree that around a community of practice there may need to be a governance mechanism?  If a community requires resources or produces artifacts of some sort, it may need to have some way of taking care of them: when the midwives were learning in the Yucatan many years ago, this wasn’t an issue but in this day and age, resources (including platforms like yahoogroups) usually have owners and legal mechanisms.  Whether we like it or not.

         

        In CPsquare we’ve just been doing a marathon look at various non-secular communities of practice.  It depends what scale you look at, but some of these communities are very long lived.  Like thousands of years.  Josh Plaskoff and Estee Solomon Gray argued that the social structures and mechanisms in Judaism corresponded exactly to the theories we use to think about communities of practice, so they were saying: they are one and the same.  And within Judaism there are organizations galore.  And within some of those organizations they are supporting many communities of practice, with all the risks that “support” entails.  So no hard & fast answers, in my opinion.

         

        I’ve become convinced that even though Wenger, McDermott & Snyder tried to be very clear that what they were talking about was not necessarily a corporate phenomenon, the conversation as been largely organization-oriented (and secular).  There is much to be learned about how communities function, propagate themselves, and coexist with organizations from looking at religious and spiritual examples.

         

        Lest we go meta, too fast and irreversibly, I would ask Andrew whether he can find any examples that are working (however imperfectly) in his vicinity.   I think we see that communities of practice are very hardy and can exist in a lot of different settings (although every setting will influence behavior and, possibly, success).

         

        John

        * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd

        * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net

        * Got ilk?

         

        From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Fred Nickols
        Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 4:10 PM
        To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP

         

         

        G'day, Andrew. I assume you're an Aussie because my Kiwi friends tell me they don't use that greeting.

        I don't think you'll like my response to your inquiry but I'll send it along anyway.

        If you're looking for a "governance" mechanism in relation to a CoP, then I submit to you that you (or your sponsor or boss or whomever) isn't really interested in a real CoP. CoPs are "communities of practice" and they are not governed and especially not by any outside agency.

        So I ask you in return, what kind of group are you trying to establish that requires a "governance mechanism"?

        Fred Nickols

        --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "Andrew Mahar" <andrew@...> wrote:
        >
        > G'day,
        >
        > I am working on assisting in the establishment of a CoP looking at making more efficient and effective use of technology in community service organisations.
        >
        > I am looking for any governance model and advice that people may have that may assist me.
        >
        > best wishes
        >
        > andrew
        >

      • peter bond
        Hi Folks, It s a long time since I posted but I have been tempted out of lurkerdom to agree (once again) with Fred and to respond to Andrew s query (in a
        Message 3 of 18 , Aug 9, 2011
        • 0 Attachment
          Hi Folks, It's a long time since I posted but I have been tempted out of lurkerdom to agree (once again) with Fred and to respond to Andrew's query (in a roundabout way) and John's last post.

          This issue of governance and managing cops has been raised here before. I object to the idea because what we came to call CoPs, in the early days, were supposed to have spontaneously organised around some kind of enterprise. Thus, certainly in their embryonic state, they were self-organising, self-managing, self-directing social entities which meant that everyone managed and made a contribution according to their strengths with respect to the enterprise. Here's a long quote from you-know-who.

          "Being alive as human beings means we are constantly engaged in the pursuit of enterprises of all kinds, from ensuring our physical survival to seeking the most lofty pleasures. As we define these enterprises and engage in their pursuit together, we interact with each other and with the world and we tune our relations with each other and with the world accordingly. In other words, we learn. Over time, this collective learning results in practices that reflect both
          the pursuit of our enterprises and the attendant social relations. These practices are thus the property of a kind of community created over time by the pursuit of a shared enterprise. It makes sense, therefore, to call these kinds of communities communities of practice.’

          Etienne Wenger from his book communities of practice: learning, meaning, and identity

          I think it was after reading this that I concluded that the term CoP was coined to highlight something about ordinary social groups that Lave and Wenger found to be extraordinary, that people learn to survive and grow in a particular environment or landscape as coherent social groups in a characteristic manner. I think the following is also from the introductory chapter of the same book.

          The term community of practice is a starting point for a project to develop a broader conceptual frame to articulate the phenomenon of social learning (learning in a social context).

          To me, the book I've just referred to could be the bible of community development, NOT 'community of practice' development, because my reading is that CoPs don't exist as something special and different, this is simply a term to bring out something about social group development that had perhaps not been fully appreciated before, even though the idea of the learning organisation preceded it. It is, therefore, no wonder that EW saw CoPs everywhere, they were there to be observed because what he and Jean Lave were studying, from an anthropological perspective, were simply social groups some of which had endured sometimes over generations. It's, therefore, no wonder that one can point to long standing CoPs associated with ancient religions, because they are simply the same kind of social groups that historians, sociologists and anthropologists study day in day out.

          Back to governance. The answer to designing a 'governance system' is, again, to be found deep in EW's 1998 book, but first something else to consider.

          We know from studies of social group formation that people we label 'leaders' and 'managers' emerge over time. Also, the hierarchical model of how organisations 'work' is culturally engrained. It's understandable, then, for us to want to design some kind of control mechanism to ensure a 'CoP' meets it's goals. Over the last century or so, probably since Frederick Taylor's treatise on best management practice, the need for some kind of hierarchical control (which is what governance really means) architecture has dominated organisation design. It's in the more recent past that ideas such as self-organization have begun to trickle through to the corporate manager's consciousness. For want of a better label, this is about self-governance, its about democracy, its about achieving consensus through conversation. Its about creating 'norms of practice' or ' norms of behaviour' through agreement and its through the accepted norms that social group regulation (actually self-regulation) is achieved. (I prefer to use the term 'regulation' to 'control' or 'governance'.)

          Like John's religious instittutions, there are many social groups/communities that exist today in a form that has changed only very slowly over 1000s of years. Hunter gatherers in Africa, in South America, and Papua New Guinea are examples. How are they governed? Are they communities, or communities of practice? Well they certainly are communities that practice, and as EW says (more or less), it is through practices that they maintain their characteristic forms. Practice creates and maintains structures and, as the sociologist Anthony Giddens recognised sometime in the mid 1970s, the structure of an organization, which is constituted by the parts (people and objects/artefacts) and the relations between them, simultaneously enables and constrains practices. Moreover, structure is the result of practices. Structure, which is at least partially the source of a social group's characteristics, tends to be conserved, or changes only gradually. It's this structure that enables 'control'. Structure tends to be something we are generally unconscious of, and I think its a reasonable step to take to suggest that structure is created and maintained through what EW refers to as a repertoire, which comprises the routines, words, tools (which are the results of practices, ways of doing things, stories, gestures, symbols, genres (artefacts or actions similar in style or form)....

          Now I know its bad form here to mention teams and team working in the same sentence as communities of practice, but there I've done it. Researchers of team working (yes it still thrives) refers to 'a something' that holds teams together and aids collective action and a feeling of 'togertheness', it's something notional, it's not written down, but it is found to be shared by all team members. It's got various names, but I think 'shared cognitive schema' gives you a good idea of what it is. The hunter gatherers societies that are contemporary with our own have gotten by without writing , so they don't don't issue memos about performance, or lack of it, but they have a shared cognitive schema that acts like a kind of reference framework for every member. And as they grow up, children learn it, they learn by observing and then participating in routines, they learn the words to describe the tools used by the group, they learn the ways of doing things from stories, they learn gestures and come to know what symbols mean. So they learn what EW calls the repertoire which, as he recognises in his book, is similar to Pierre Bourdieu's Habitus.

          If anyone is looking for a 'governance system. I would recommend knowing more about the creation and maintainance of the repertoire, and don't underestimate the influence of objects (the importance of boundary objects is, I think, already recognised in the 'CoP' literature e.g. by Kimble and Hildreth). A repertoire is, at the very least, part of an organizational regulatory system. It reflects the structure of an organization, and is a reflection of it. It evolves through critical evaluation, by the collective, of the practices of individuals who produce the results necessary for the conservation of the collective bound together by a common enterprise. Even though 'managing' and 'leading' roles exist they only do so through the goodwill or consensus of the collective, and I firmly believe that all truly social groups are self-regulating, members just need a reference framework. If a social group does allow the emergence of 'leaders' or 'managers', these members can only help to regulate the behaviour of the collective with reference to a repertoire, or a shared cognitive schema, only some of which may be made explicit in written documents or other media.

          If anyone is interested in a more radical approach to team and social group formation, especially virtual teams (CoPs if you prefer), I have a chapter in a book to be found here http://www.igi-global.com/bookstore/titledetails.aspx?titleid=45965. The piece is entitled: A complex theory and model of distributed team working. If you are in academia you can get copies of some of my professional and theoretical writing here. http://liverpool.academia.edu/PeterBond/About

          Just in case.. I am away on hols for a few days. If there are any responses I will address them next week.

          cheers for now.

          Peter


          ========================================
          Message Received: Aug 09 2011, 05:25 AM
          From: "John David Smith"
          To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
          Cc:
          Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP

          But Fred, wouldn't you agree that around a community of practice there may
          need to be a governance mechanism? If a community requires resources or
          produces artifacts of some sort, it may need to have some way of taking care
          of them: when the midwives were learning in the Yucatan many years ago, this
          wasn't an issue but in this day and age, resources (including platforms like
          yahoogroups) usually have owners and legal mechanisms. Whether we like it
          or not.



          In CPsquare we've just been doing a marathon look at various non-secular
          communities of practice. It depends what scale you look at, but some of
          these communities are very long lived. Like thousands of years. Josh
          Plaskoff and Estee Solomon Gray argued that the social structures and
          mechanisms in Judaism corresponded exactly to the theories we use to think
          about communities of practice, so they were saying: they are one and the
          same. And within Judaism there are organizations galore. And within some
          of those organizations they are supporting many communities of practice,
          with all the risks that "support" entails. So no hard & fast answers, in my
          opinion.



          I've become convinced that even though Wenger, McDermott & Snyder tried to
          be very clear that what they were talking about was not necessarily a
          corporate phenomenon, the conversation as been largely organization-oriented
          (and secular). There is much to be learned about how communities function,
          propagate themselves, and coexist with organizations from looking at
          religious and spiritual examples.



          Lest we go meta, too fast and irreversibly, I would ask Andrew whether he
          can find any examples that are working (however imperfectly) in his
          vicinity. I think we see that communities of practice are very hardy and
          can exist in a lot of different settings (although every setting will
          influence behavior and, possibly, success).



          John

          * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd

          * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net

          * Got ilk?



          From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
          Of Fred Nickols
          Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 4:10 PM
          To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP





          G'day, Andrew. I assume you're an Aussie because my Kiwi friends tell me
          they don't use that greeting.

          I don't think you'll like my response to your inquiry but I'll send it along
          anyway.

          If you're looking for a "governance" mechanism in relation to a CoP, then I
          submit to you that you (or your sponsor or boss or whomever) isn't really
          interested in a real CoP. CoPs are "communities of practice" and they are
          not governed and especially not by any outside agency.

          So I ask you in return, what kind of group are you trying to establish that
          requires a "governance mechanism"?

          Fred Nickols

          --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com ,
          "Andrew Mahar" wrote:
          >
          > G'day,
          >
          > I am working on assisting in the establishment of a CoP looking at making
          more efficient and effective use of technology in community service
          organisations.
          >
          > I am looking for any governance model and advice that people may have that
          may assist me.
          >
          > best wishes
          >
          > andrew
          >







          ========================================
          Message Received: Aug 09 2011, 05:25 AM
          From: "John David Smith"
          To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
          Cc:
          Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP

          But Fred, wouldn't you agree that around a community of practice there may
          need to be a governance mechanism? If a community requires resources or
          produces artifacts of some sort, it may need to have some way of taking care
          of them: when the midwives were learning in the Yucatan many years ago, this
          wasn't an issue but in this day and age, resources (including platforms like
          yahoogroups) usually have owners and legal mechanisms. Whether we like it
          or not.



          In CPsquare we've just been doing a marathon look at various non-secular
          communities of practice. It depends what scale you look at, but some of
          these communities are very long lived. Like thousands of years. Josh
          Plaskoff and Estee Solomon Gray argued that the social structures and
          mechanisms in Judaism corresponded exactly to the theories we use to think
          about communities of practice, so they were saying: they are one and the
          same. And within Judaism there are organizations galore. And within some
          of those organizations they are supporting many communities of practice,
          with all the risks that "support" entails. So no hard & fast answers, in my
          opinion.



          I've become convinced that even though Wenger, McDermott & Snyder tried to
          be very clear that what they were talking about was not necessarily a
          corporate phenomenon, the conversation as been largely organization-oriented
          (and secular). There is much to be learned about how communities function,
          propagate themselves, and coexist with organizations from looking at
          religious and spiritual examples.



          Lest we go meta, too fast and irreversibly, I would ask Andrew whether he
          can find any examples that are working (however imperfectly) in his
          vicinity. I think we see that communities of practice are very hardy and
          can exist in a lot of different settings (although every setting will
          influence behavior and, possibly, success).



          John

          * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd

          * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net

          * Got ilk?



          From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
          Of Fred Nickols
          Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 4:10 PM
          To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP





          G'day, Andrew. I assume you're an Aussie because my Kiwi friends tell me
          they don't use that greeting.

          I don't think you'll like my response to your inquiry but I'll send it along
          anyway.

          If you're looking for a "governance" mechanism in relation to a CoP, then I
          submit to you that you (or your sponsor or boss or whomever) isn't really
          interested in a real CoP. CoPs are "communities of practice" and they are
          not governed and especially not by any outside agency.

          So I ask you in return, what kind of group are you trying to establish that
          requires a "governance mechanism"?

          Fred Nickols

          --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com ,
          "Andrew Mahar" wrote:
          >
          > G'day,
          >
          > I am working on assisting in the establishment of a CoP looking at making
          more efficient and effective use of technology in community service
          organisations.
          >
          > I am looking for any governance model and advice that people may have that
          may assist me.
          >
          > best wishes
          >
          > andrew
          >
        • John Parboosingh
          Many thanks for these very valid comments. I dont think anyone has mentioned the publication by McDermott R, Archibald D. Harnessing your staff s informal
          Message 4 of 18 , Aug 9, 2011
          • 0 Attachment
            Many thanks for these very valid comments. I dont think anyone has mentioned
            the publication by McDermott R, Archibald D. Harnessing your staff's
            informal network. Harvard Bus Rev 2010;88:82-9. These authors looked at
            companies and organizations that have used CoPs successfully and draw the
            conclusion that to be valuable to an organization, CoPs must establish
            community goals and deliverables that focus on what’s important to the
            organization; provide real governance with formal relationships with the
            organization’s leadership; and set high management expectations. Also,
            organization leaders have to set aside time for community participation and
            provide training for facilitators. To achieve these ambitious goals they
            need to apply a governance model. Yet they still remain different from high
            performance teams?

            John Parboosingh MB FRCSC
            Professor Emeritus, University of Calgary
            Consultant, Community Learning

            Mailing address: 146 Rundle Crescent, Canmore,
            Alberta, Canada T1W 2L6
            Phone (403) 609-3321
            Fax: (403) 609-3371
            Email address: parboo@...

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: peter bond
            To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2011 6:03 AM
            Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP



            Hi Folks, It's a long time since I posted but I have been tempted out of
            lurkerdom to agree (once again) with Fred and to respond to Andrew's query
            (in a roundabout way) and John's last post.

            This issue of governance and managing cops has been raised here before. I
            object to the idea because what we came to call CoPs, in the early days,
            were supposed to have spontaneously organised around some kind of
            enterprise. Thus, certainly in their embryonic state, they were
            self-organising, self-managing, self-directing social entities which meant
            that everyone managed and made a contribution according to their strengths
            with respect to the enterprise. Here's a long quote from you-know-who.

            "Being alive as human beings means we are constantly engaged in the pursuit
            of enterprises of all kinds, from ensuring our physical survival to seeking
            the most lofty pleasures. As we define these enterprises and engage in their
            pursuit together, we interact with each other and with the world and we tune
            our relations with each other and with the world accordingly. In other
            words, we learn. Over time, this collective learning results in practices
            that reflect both
            the pursuit of our enterprises and the attendant social relations. These
            practices are thus the property of a kind of community created over time by
            the pursuit of a shared enterprise. It makes sense, therefore, to call these
            kinds of communities communities of practice.’

            Etienne Wenger from his book communities of practice: learning, meaning, and
            identity

            I think it was after reading this that I concluded that the term CoP was
            coined to highlight something about ordinary social groups that Lave and
            Wenger found to be extraordinary, that people learn to survive and grow in a
            particular environment or landscape as coherent social groups in a
            characteristic manner. I think the following is also from the introductory
            chapter of the same book.

            The term community of practice is a starting point for a project to develop
            a broader conceptual frame to articulate the phenomenon of social learning
            (learning in a social context).

            To me, the book I've just referred to could be the bible of community
            development, NOT 'community of practice' development, because my reading is
            that CoPs don't exist as something special and different, this is simply a
            term to bring out something about social group development that had perhaps
            not been fully appreciated before, even though the idea of the learning
            organisation preceded it. It is, therefore, no wonder that EW saw CoPs
            everywhere, they were there to be observed because what he and Jean Lave
            were studying, from an anthropological perspective, were simply social
            groups some of which had endured sometimes over generations. It's,
            therefore, no wonder that one can point to long standing CoPs associated
            with ancient religions, because they are simply the same kind of social
            groups that historians, sociologists and anthropologists study day in day
            out.

            Back to governance. The answer to designing a 'governance system' is, again,
            to be found deep in EW's 1998 book, but first something else to consider.

            We know from studies of social group formation that people we label
            'leaders' and 'managers' emerge over time. Also, the hierarchical model of
            how organisations 'work' is culturally engrained. It's understandable, then,
            for us to want to design some kind of control mechanism to ensure a 'CoP'
            meets it's goals. Over the last century or so, probably since Frederick
            Taylor's treatise on best management practice, the need for some kind of
            hierarchical control (which is what governance really means) architecture
            has dominated organisation design. It's in the more recent past that ideas
            such as self-organization have begun to trickle through to the corporate
            manager's consciousness. For want of a better label, this is about
            self-governance, its about democracy, its about achieving consensus through
            conversation. Its about creating 'norms of practice' or ' norms of
            behaviour' through agreement and its through the accepted norms that social
            group regulation (actually self-regulation) is achieved. (I prefer to use
            the term 'regulation' to 'control' or 'governance'.)

            Like John's religious instittutions, there are many social
            groups/communities that exist today in a form that has changed only very
            slowly over 1000s of years. Hunter gatherers in Africa, in South America,
            and Papua New Guinea are examples. How are they governed? Are they
            communities, or communities of practice? Well they certainly are communities
            that practice, and as EW says (more or less), it is through practices that
            they maintain their characteristic forms. Practice creates and maintains
            structures and, as the sociologist Anthony Giddens recognised sometime in
            the mid 1970s, the structure of an organization, which is constituted by the
            parts (people and objects/artefacts) and the relations between them,
            simultaneously enables and constrains practices. Moreover, structure is the
            result of practices. Structure, which is at least partially the source of a
            social group's characteristics, tends to be conserved, or changes only
            gradually. It's this structure that enables 'control'. Structure tends to be
            something we are generally unconscious of, and I think its a reasonable step
            to take to suggest that structure is created and maintained through what EW
            refers to as a repertoire, which comprises the routines, words, tools (which
            are the results of practices, ways of doing things, stories, gestures,
            symbols, genres (artefacts or actions similar in style or form)....

            Now I know its bad form here to mention teams and team working in the same
            sentence as communities of practice, but there I've done it. Researchers of
            team working (yes it still thrives) refers to 'a something' that holds teams
            together and aids collective action and a feeling of 'togertheness', it's
            something notional, it's not written down, but it is found to be shared by
            all team members. It's got various names, but I think 'shared cognitive
            schema' gives you a good idea of what it is. The hunter gatherers societies
            that are contemporary with our own have gotten by without writing , so they
            don't don't issue memos about performance, or lack of it, but they have a
            shared cognitive schema that acts like a kind of reference framework for
            every member. And as they grow up, children learn it, they learn by
            observing and then participating in routines, they learn the words to
            describe the tools used by the group, they learn the ways of doing things
            from stories, they learn gestures and come to know what symbols mean. So
            they learn what EW calls the repertoire which, as he recognises in his book,
            is similar to Pierre Bourdieu's Habitus.

            If anyone is looking for a 'governance system. I would recommend knowing
            more about the creation and maintainance of the repertoire, and don't
            underestimate the influence of objects (the importance of boundary objects
            is, I think, already recognised in the 'CoP' literature e.g. by Kimble and
            Hildreth). A repertoire is, at the very least, part of an organizational
            regulatory system. It reflects the structure of an organization, and is a
            reflection of it. It evolves through critical evaluation, by the collective,
            of the practices of individuals who produce the results necessary for the
            conservation of the collective bound together by a common enterprise. Even
            though 'managing' and 'leading' roles exist they only do so through the
            goodwill or consensus of the collective, and I firmly believe that all truly
            social groups are self-regulating, members just need a reference framework.
            If a social group does allow the emergence of 'leaders' or 'managers', these
            members can only help to regulate the behaviour of the collective with
            reference to a repertoire, or a shared cognitive schema, only some of which
            may be made explicit in written documents or other media.

            If anyone is interested in a more radical approach to team and social group
            formation, especially virtual teams (CoPs if you prefer), I have a chapter
            in a book to be found here
            http://www.igi-global.com/bookstore/titledetails.aspx?titleid=45965. The
            piece is entitled: A complex theory and model of distributed team working.
            If you are in academia you can get copies of some of my professional and
            theoretical writing here. http://liverpool.academia.edu/PeterBond/About

            Just in case.. I am away on hols for a few days. If there are any responses
            I will address them next week.

            cheers for now.

            Peter

            ========================================
            Message Received: Aug 09 2011, 05:25 AM
            From: "John David Smith"
            To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
            Cc:
            Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP

            But Fred, wouldn't you agree that around a community of practice there may
            need to be a governance mechanism? If a community requires resources or
            produces artifacts of some sort, it may need to have some way of taking care
            of them: when the midwives were learning in the Yucatan many years ago, this
            wasn't an issue but in this day and age, resources (including platforms like
            yahoogroups) usually have owners and legal mechanisms. Whether we like it
            or not.

            In CPsquare we've just been doing a marathon look at various non-secular
            communities of practice. It depends what scale you look at, but some of
            these communities are very long lived. Like thousands of years. Josh
            Plaskoff and Estee Solomon Gray argued that the social structures and
            mechanisms in Judaism corresponded exactly to the theories we use to think
            about communities of practice, so they were saying: they are one and the
            same. And within Judaism there are organizations galore. And within some
            of those organizations they are supporting many communities of practice,
            with all the risks that "support" entails. So no hard & fast answers, in my
            opinion.

            I've become convinced that even though Wenger, McDermott & Snyder tried to
            be very clear that what they were talking about was not necessarily a
            corporate phenomenon, the conversation as been largely organization-oriented
            (and secular). There is much to be learned about how communities function,
            propagate themselves, and coexist with organizations from looking at
            religious and spiritual examples.

            Lest we go meta, too fast and irreversibly, I would ask Andrew whether he
            can find any examples that are working (however imperfectly) in his
            vicinity. I think we see that communities of practice are very hardy and
            can exist in a lot of different settings (although every setting will
            influence behavior and, possibly, success).

            John

            * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd

            * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net

            * Got ilk?

            From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
            Of Fred Nickols
            Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 4:10 PM
            To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP

            G'day, Andrew. I assume you're an Aussie because my Kiwi friends tell me
            they don't use that greeting.

            I don't think you'll like my response to your inquiry but I'll send it along
            anyway.

            If you're looking for a "governance" mechanism in relation to a CoP, then I
            submit to you that you (or your sponsor or boss or whomever) isn't really
            interested in a real CoP. CoPs are "communities of practice" and they are
            not governed and especially not by any outside agency.

            So I ask you in return, what kind of group are you trying to establish that
            requires a "governance mechanism"?

            Fred Nickols

            --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com ,
            "Andrew Mahar" wrote:
            >
            > G'day,
            >
            > I am working on assisting in the establishment of a CoP looking at making
            more efficient and effective use of technology in community service
            organisations.
            >
            > I am looking for any governance model and advice that people may have that
            may assist me.
            >
            > best wishes
            >
            > andrew
            >

            ========================================
            Message Received: Aug 09 2011, 05:25 AM
            From: "John David Smith"
            To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
            Cc:
            Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP

            But Fred, wouldn't you agree that around a community of practice there may
            need to be a governance mechanism? If a community requires resources or
            produces artifacts of some sort, it may need to have some way of taking care
            of them: when the midwives were learning in the Yucatan many years ago, this
            wasn't an issue but in this day and age, resources (including platforms like
            yahoogroups) usually have owners and legal mechanisms. Whether we like it
            or not.

            In CPsquare we've just been doing a marathon look at various non-secular
            communities of practice. It depends what scale you look at, but some of
            these communities are very long lived. Like thousands of years. Josh
            Plaskoff and Estee Solomon Gray argued that the social structures and
            mechanisms in Judaism corresponded exactly to the theories we use to think
            about communities of practice, so they were saying: they are one and the
            same. And within Judaism there are organizations galore. And within some
            of those organizations they are supporting many communities of practice,
            with all the risks that "support" entails. So no hard & fast answers, in my
            opinion.

            I've become convinced that even though Wenger, McDermott & Snyder tried to
            be very clear that what they were talking about was not necessarily a
            corporate phenomenon, the conversation as been largely organization-oriented
            (and secular). There is much to be learned about how communities function,
            propagate themselves, and coexist with organizations from looking at
            religious and spiritual examples.

            Lest we go meta, too fast and irreversibly, I would ask Andrew whether he
            can find any examples that are working (however imperfectly) in his
            vicinity. I think we see that communities of practice are very hardy and
            can exist in a lot of different settings (although every setting will
            influence behavior and, possibly, success).

            John

            * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd

            * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net

            * Got ilk?

            From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
            Of Fred Nickols
            Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 4:10 PM
            To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP

            G'day, Andrew. I assume you're an Aussie because my Kiwi friends tell me
            they don't use that greeting.

            I don't think you'll like my response to your inquiry but I'll send it along
            anyway.

            If you're looking for a "governance" mechanism in relation to a CoP, then I
            submit to you that you (or your sponsor or boss or whomever) isn't really
            interested in a real CoP. CoPs are "communities of practice" and they are
            not governed and especially not by any outside agency.

            So I ask you in return, what kind of group are you trying to establish that
            requires a "governance mechanism"?

            Fred Nickols

            --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com ,
            "Andrew Mahar" wrote:
            >
            > G'day,
            >
            > I am working on assisting in the establishment of a CoP looking at making
            more efficient and effective use of technology in community service
            organisations.
            >
            > I am looking for any governance model and advice that people may have that
            may assist me.
            >
            > best wishes
            >
            > andrew
            >
          • peter bond
            Hi John,Just to pick up on your reference to team at the end of your post. I think the distinction between teams and CoPs has always been a false and
            Message 5 of 18 , Aug 9, 2011
            • 0 Attachment
              Hi John,Just to pick up on your reference to team at the end of your post. I think the distinction between teams and CoPs has always been a false and misleading one, which has endured, probably, from a reluctance of CoP proponents to delve into the rich(er) history of the formation of small social groups within larger organisations. The early writing on teams and their benefits to the larger group is almost indistinguishable from what we read are the benefits of CoPs. So CoPs might span the boundary of formal depts, years ago such social entities were described as informal social groups, with a recognised agenda.

              A couple of extracts will illustrate what I mean.

              Teamwork in organizations takes many forms, ranging from informal to ad hoc three person caucuses beside the water cooler to the highly structured
              monthly meetings of the board of directors. Teamwork is any form of joint action by a group of people to pursue a common goal. It involves the subordination of individual interests to group identity and coordinated efforts. By definition, any organization is a team. However, teamwork has a positive connotation that goes beyond coordination and efficiency. teamwork implies unity of purpose, interdependent activities, willing cooperation, and a sense of belonging.’ (Organization and Management, Kast and Rozenzweig: 1985, p353) or....

              Many informal, unauthorized, groups develop spontaneously because of a felt need of the individuals involved…..Informal groups can and
              do span vertical levels in many organizations. The ‘tie that binds' may be based on the development of an interest in a particular idea or
              project within the scope of formal endeavour.”

              An extract from a book of 1960 by the famous Douglas McGregor of theory X and Y fame. To me, this sounds remarkably like what we are now calling a CoP.

              Pete


              ========================================
              Message Received: Aug 09 2011, 03:41 PM
              From: "John Parboosingh"

              To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
              Cc:
              Subject: Re: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP

              Many thanks for these very valid comments. I dont think anyone has mentioned
              the publication by McDermott R, Archibald D. Harnessing your staff's
              informal network. Harvard Bus Rev 2010;88:82-9. These authors looked at
              companies and organizations that have used CoPs successfully and draw the
              conclusion that to be valuable to an organization, CoPs must establish
              community goals and deliverables that focus on what’s important to the
              organization; provide real governance with formal relationships with the
              organization’s leadership; and set high management expectations. Also,
              organization leaders have to set aside time for community participation and
              provide training for facilitators. To achieve these ambitious goals they
              need to apply a governance model. Yet they still remain different from high
              performance teams?

              John Parboosingh MB FRCSC
              Professor Emeritus, University of Calgary
              Consultant, Community Learning

              Mailing address: 146 Rundle Crescent, Canmore,
              Alberta, Canada T1W 2L6
              Phone (403) 609-3321
              Fax: (403) 609-3371
              Email address: parboo@...

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: peter bond
              To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2011 6:03 AM
              Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP



              Hi Folks, It's a long time since I posted but I have been tempted out of
              lurkerdom to agree (once again) with Fred and to respond to Andrew's query
              (in a roundabout way) and John's last post.

              This issue of governance and managing cops has been raised here before. I
              object to the idea because what we came to call CoPs, in the early days,
              were supposed to have spontaneously organised around some kind of
              enterprise. Thus, certainly in their embryonic state, they were
              self-organising, self-managing, self-directing social entities which meant
              that everyone managed and made a contribution according to their strengths
              with respect to the enterprise. Here's a long quote from you-know-who.

              "Being alive as human beings means we are constantly engaged in the pursuit
              of enterprises of all kinds, from ensuring our physical survival to seeking
              the most lofty pleasures. As we define these enterprises and engage in their
              pursuit together, we interact with each other and with the world and we tune
              our relations with each other and with the world accordingly. In other
              words, we learn. Over time, this collective learning results in practices
              that reflect both
              the pursuit of our enterprises and the attendant social relations. These
              practices are thus the property of a kind of community created over time by
              the pursuit of a shared enterprise. It makes sense, therefore, to call these
              kinds of communities communities of practice.’

              Etienne Wenger from his book communities of practice: learning, meaning, and
              identity

              I think it was after reading this that I concluded that the term CoP was
              coined to highlight something about ordinary social groups that Lave and
              Wenger found to be extraordinary, that people learn to survive and grow in a
              particular environment or landscape as coherent social groups in a
              characteristic manner. I think the following is also from the introductory
              chapter of the same book.

              The term community of practice is a starting point for a project to develop
              a broader conceptual frame to articulate the phenomenon of social learning
              (learning in a social context).

              To me, the book I've just referred to could be the bible of community
              development, NOT 'community of practice' development, because my reading is
              that CoPs don't exist as something special and different, this is simply a
              term to bring out something about social group development that had perhaps
              not been fully appreciated before, even though the idea of the learning
              organisation preceded it. It is, therefore, no wonder that EW saw CoPs
              everywhere, they were there to be observed because what he and Jean Lave
              were studying, from an anthropological perspective, were simply social
              groups some of which had endured sometimes over generations. It's,
              therefore, no wonder that one can point to long standing CoPs associated
              with ancient religions, because they are simply the same kind of social
              groups that historians, sociologists and anthropologists study day in day
              out.

              Back to governance. The answer to designing a 'governance system' is, again,
              to be found deep in EW's 1998 book, but first something else to consider.

              We know from studies of social group formation that people we label
              'leaders' and 'managers' emerge over time. Also, the hierarchical model of
              how organisations 'work' is culturally engrained. It's understandable, then,
              for us to want to design some kind of control mechanism to ensure a 'CoP'
              meets it's goals. Over the last century or so, probably since Frederick
              Taylor's treatise on best management practice, the need for some kind of
              hierarchical control (which is what governance really means) architecture
              has dominated organisation design. It's in the more recent past that ideas
              such as self-organization have begun to trickle through to the corporate
              manager's consciousness. For want of a better label, this is about
              self-governance, its about democracy, its about achieving consensus through
              conversation. Its about creating 'norms of practice' or ' norms of
              behaviour' through agreement and its through the accepted norms that social
              group regulation (actually self-regulation) is achieved. (I prefer to use
              the term 'regulation' to 'control' or 'governance'.)

              Like John's religious instittutions, there are many social
              groups/communities that exist today in a form that has changed only very
              slowly over 1000s of years. Hunter gatherers in Africa, in South America,
              and Papua New Guinea are examples. How are they governed? Are they
              communities, or communities of practice? Well they certainly are communities
              that practice, and as EW says (more or less), it is through practices that
              they maintain their characteristic forms. Practice creates and maintains
              structures and, as the sociologist Anthony Giddens recognised sometime in
              the mid 1970s, the structure of an organization, which is constituted by the
              parts (people and objects/artefacts) and the relations between them,
              simultaneously enables and constrains practices. Moreover, structure is the
              result of practices. Structure, which is at least partially the source of a
              social group's characteristics, tends to be conserved, or changes only
              gradually. It's this structure that enables 'control'. Structure tends to be
              something we are generally unconscious of, and I think its a reasonable step
              to take to suggest that structure is created and maintained through what EW
              refers to as a repertoire, which comprises the routines, words, tools (which
              are the results of practices, ways of doing things, stories, gestures,
              symbols, genres (artefacts or actions similar in style or form)....

              Now I know its bad form here to mention teams and team working in the same
              sentence as communities of practice, but there I've done it. Researchers of
              team working (yes it still thrives) refers to 'a something' that holds teams
              together and aids collective action and a feeling of 'togertheness', it's
              something notional, it's not written down, but it is found to be shared by
              all team members. It's got various names, but I think 'shared cognitive
              schema' gives you a good idea of what it is. The hunter gatherers societies
              that are contemporary with our own have gotten by without writing , so they
              don't don't issue memos about performance, or lack of it, but they have a
              shared cognitive schema that acts like a kind of reference framework for
              every member. And as they grow up, children learn it, they learn by
              observing and then participating in routines, they learn the words to
              describe the tools used by the group, they learn the ways of doing things
              from stories, they learn gestures and come to know what symbols mean. So
              they learn what EW calls the repertoire which, as he recognises in his book,
              is similar to Pierre Bourdieu's Habitus.

              If anyone is looking for a 'governance system. I would recommend knowing
              more about the creation and maintainance of the repertoire, and don't
              underestimate the influence of objects (the importance of boundary objects
              is, I think, already recognised in the 'CoP' literature e.g. by Kimble and
              Hildreth). A repertoire is, at the very least, part of an organizational
              regulatory system. It reflects the structure of an organization, and is a
              reflection of it. It evolves through critical evaluation, by the collective,
              of the practices of individuals who produce the results necessary for the
              conservation of the collective bound together by a common enterprise. Even
              though 'managing' and 'leading' roles exist they only do so through the
              goodwill or consensus of the collective, and I firmly believe that all truly
              social groups are self-regulating, members just need a reference framework.
              If a social group does allow the emergence of 'leaders' or 'managers', these
              members can only help to regulate the behaviour of the collective with
              reference to a repertoire, or a shared cognitive schema, only some of which
              may be made explicit in written documents or other media.

              If anyone is interested in a more radical approach to team and social group
              formation, especially virtual teams (CoPs if you prefer), I have a chapter
              in a book to be found here
              http://www.igi-global.com/bookstore/titledetails.aspx?titleid=45965. The
              piece is entitled: A complex theory and model of distributed team working.
              If you are in academia you can get copies of some of my professional and
              theoretical writing here. http://liverpool.academia.edu/PeterBond/About

              Just in case.. I am away on hols for a few days. If there are any responses
              I will address them next week.

              cheers for now.

              Peter

              ========================================
              Message Received: Aug 09 2011, 05:25 AM
              From: "John David Smith"
              To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
              Cc:
              Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP

              But Fred, wouldn't you agree that around a community of practice there may
              need to be a governance mechanism? If a community requires resources or
              produces artifacts of some sort, it may need to have some way of taking care
              of them: when the midwives were learning in the Yucatan many years ago, this
              wasn't an issue but in this day and age, resources (including platforms like
              yahoogroups) usually have owners and legal mechanisms. Whether we like it
              or not.

              In CPsquare we've just been doing a marathon look at various non-secular
              communities of practice. It depends what scale you look at, but some of
              these communities are very long lived. Like thousands of years. Josh
              Plaskoff and Estee Solomon Gray argued that the social structures and
              mechanisms in Judaism corresponded exactly to the theories we use to think
              about communities of practice, so they were saying: they are one and the
              same. And within Judaism there are organizations galore. And within some
              of those organizations they are supporting many communities of practice,
              with all the risks that "support" entails. So no hard & fast answers, in my
              opinion.

              I've become convinced that even though Wenger, McDermott & Snyder tried to
              be very clear that what they were talking about was not necessarily a
              corporate phenomenon, the conversation as been largely organization-oriented
              (and secular). There is much to be learned about how communities function,
              propagate themselves, and coexist with organizations from looking at
              religious and spiritual examples.

              Lest we go meta, too fast and irreversibly, I would ask Andrew whether he
              can find any examples that are working (however imperfectly) in his
              vicinity. I think we see that communities of practice are very hardy and
              can exist in a lot of different settings (although every setting will
              influence behavior and, possibly, success).

              John

              * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd

              * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net

              * Got ilk?

              From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
              Of Fred Nickols
              Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 4:10 PM
              To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP

              G'day, Andrew. I assume you're an Aussie because my Kiwi friends tell me
              they don't use that greeting.

              I don't think you'll like my response to your inquiry but I'll send it along
              anyway.

              If you're looking for a "governance" mechanism in relation to a CoP, then I
              submit to you that you (or your sponsor or boss or whomever) isn't really
              interested in a real CoP. CoPs are "communities of practice" and they are
              not governed and especially not by any outside agency.

              So I ask you in return, what kind of group are you trying to establish that
              requires a "governance mechanism"?

              Fred Nickols

              --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com ,
              "Andrew Mahar" wrote:
              >
              > G'day,
              >
              > I am working on assisting in the establishment of a CoP looking at making
              more efficient and effective use of technology in community service
              organisations.
              >
              > I am looking for any governance model and advice that people may have that
              may assist me.
              >
              > best wishes
              >
              > andrew
              >

              ========================================
              Message Received: Aug 09 2011, 05:25 AM
              From: "John David Smith"
              To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
              Cc:
              Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP

              But Fred, wouldn't you agree that around a community of practice there may
              need to be a governance mechanism? If a community requires resources or
              produces artifacts of some sort, it may need to have some way of taking care
              of them: when the midwives were learning in the Yucatan many years ago, this
              wasn't an issue but in this day and age, resources (including platforms like
              yahoogroups) usually have owners and legal mechanisms. Whether we like it
              or not.

              In CPsquare we've just been doing a marathon look at various non-secular
              communities of practice. It depends what scale you look at, but some of
              these communities are very long lived. Like thousands of years. Josh
              Plaskoff and Estee Solomon Gray argued that the social structures and
              mechanisms in Judaism corresponded exactly to the theories we use to think
              about communities of practice, so they were saying: they are one and the
              same. And within Judaism there are organizations galore. And within some
              of those organizations they are supporting many communities of practice,
              with all the risks that "support" entails. So no hard & fast answers, in my
              opinion.

              I've become convinced that even though Wenger, McDermott & Snyder tried to
              be very clear that what they were talking about was not necessarily a
              corporate phenomenon, the conversation as been largely organization-oriented
              (and secular). There is much to be learned about how communities function,
              propagate themselves, and coexist with organizations from looking at
              religious and spiritual examples.

              Lest we go meta, too fast and irreversibly, I would ask Andrew whether he
              can find any examples that are working (however imperfectly) in his
              vicinity. I think we see that communities of practice are very hardy and
              can exist in a lot of different settings (although every setting will
              influence behavior and, possibly, success).

              John

              * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd

              * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net

              * Got ilk?

              From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
              Of Fred Nickols
              Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 4:10 PM
              To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP

              G'day, Andrew. I assume you're an Aussie because my Kiwi friends tell me
              they don't use that greeting.

              I don't think you'll like my response to your inquiry but I'll send it along
              anyway.

              If you're looking for a "governance" mechanism in relation to a CoP, then I
              submit to you that you (or your sponsor or boss or whomever) isn't really
              interested in a real CoP. CoPs are "communities of practice" and they are
              not governed and especially not by any outside agency.

              So I ask you in return, what kind of group are you trying to establish that
              requires a "governance mechanism"?

              Fred Nickols

              --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com ,
              "Andrew Mahar" wrote:
              >
              > G'day,
              >
              > I am working on assisting in the establishment of a CoP looking at making
              more efficient and effective use of technology in community service
              organisations.
              >
              > I am looking for any governance model and advice that people may have that
              may assist me.
              >
              > best wishes
              >
              > andrew
              >
            • John David Smith
              Jackie, It would be interesting to hear more about your dissertation and hear more about what the contexts for your observations were. John * John David Smith
              Message 6 of 18 , Aug 9, 2011
              • 0 Attachment

                Jackie,

                 

                It would be interesting to hear more about your dissertation and hear more about what the contexts for your observations were.

                 

                John

                * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd

                * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net

                * Got ilk?

                 

                From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jacqueline Saldana
                Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2011 12:51 AM
                To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP

                 

                 

                Hello Guys,

                 

                I have been seen your communication thread and could not avoid to provide you with some insights about CoPs’ governance models. I have worked and studied extensively CoPs as part of my doctoral dissertation. Reality is the concept of CoP is today a strategy organizations use intentionally to spread knowledge and innovation. In my experience managing CoPs, the best governance structure is the one that emerges from within the membership. It is important to remember that shared leadership is a main characteristic of the CoP culture. Be also ready to deal with the 20/80 rule. Only 10% to 20% of community members produce concrete outcomes whereas from 90% to 80% of the membership are “passive consumers.” Engaging peripheral groups is a continual challenge to the majority of established CoPs. Creating a committee of volunteers willing to “champion” the community is a good start but the organization must let the CoP drive itself and this include building a network of collaborations that develop character, professional identify, and working methods. I have seen CoPs developed wonderful professional cultures, all different from each other in governance structure but all successful in performance because the working culture is based on inherent characteristics of a profession. 

                 

                Please, see the excerpt below which confirms findings from emergent CoP theory. I am not including the list references, but this list is available if your have further interest.

                 

                Today CoPs’ structures vary ranging from voluntary informal networks to globally dispersed project teams (Li, Grimshaw, Nielsen, Judd, et al., 2009). Professional CoPs usually do not develop mechanisms and protocols. CoPs are not formal departments, operational teams, or business units. Although all these structures share some characteristics, the CoP is the only group in which members are self-selected based on expertise or passion for a topic which evolves organically as long as members find value in their common interest. Some organizations take intentional steps to legitimize and support CoPs, which results in the institutionalization of communities forced to defend their jurisdictions and group identify (Ferlie, Fitzgerald, Wood, & Hawkins, 2005). Institutionalization (Wenger, McDermott, & Snyder, 2002) happens as result of organizations trying to align their objectives to the goals of groups of practitioners. The process of institutionalization is a delicate process structurally and culturally because requires the introduction of formal guidelines to legitimize CoPs and their roles as custodians of knowledge within informal associations.

                            Koliba and Gajda (2009) identified degree of formalization as one research variable to consider as the theory of CoP evolves. Professional CoPs today manifest different degrees of formalization relatively to their role and use within professional organizations. Wenger (et al.) explained that the focus of successful CoPs in professional organizations should be to institutionalize CoPs to integrate their overall function to the organization. Organizations should promote only guidelines to elicit genuine passion for knowledge sharing, enabling them to safeguard knowledge for both professional and organizational benefits. The organic, informal, and spontaneous nature of CoPs challenges organizations that want to nurture CoPs because these are resistant to supervision and managerial intervention (Wenger & Snyder, 2004).

                 

                Respectfully,

                 

                Jackie Saldana

                             



                --- On Tue, 8/9/11, John David Smith <john.smith@...> wrote:


                From: John David Smith <john.smith@...>
                Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Tuesday, August 9, 2011, 4:25 AM

                 

                But Fred, wouldn’t you agree that around a community of practice there may need to be a governance mechanism?  If a community requires resources or produces artifacts of some sort, it may need to have some way of taking care of them: when the midwives were learning in the Yucatan many years ago, this wasn’t an issue but in this day and age, resources (including platforms like yahoogroups) usually have owners and legal mechanisms.  Whether we like it or not.

                 

                In CPsquare we’ve just been doing a marathon look at various non-secular communities of practice.  It depends what scale you look at, but some of these communities are very long lived.  Like thousands of years.  Josh Plaskoff and Estee Solomon Gray argued that the social structures and mechanisms in Judaism corresponded exactly to the theories we use to think about communities of practice, so they were saying: they are one and the same.  And within Judaism there are organizations galore.  And within some of those organizations they are supporting many communities of practice, with all the risks that “support” entails.  So no hard & fast answers, in my opinion.

                 

                I’ve become convinced that even though Wenger, McDermott & Snyder tried to be very clear that what they were talking about was not necessarily a corporate phenomenon, the conversation as been largely organization-oriented (and secular).  There is much to be learned about how communities function, propagate themselves, and coexist with organizations from looking at religious and spiritual examples.

                 

                Lest we go meta, too fast and irreversibly, I would ask Andrew whether he can find any examples that are working (however imperfectly) in his vicinity.   I think we see that communities of practice are very hardy and can exist in a lot of different settings (although every setting will influence behavior and, possibly, success).

                 

                John

                * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd

                * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net

                * Got ilk?

                 

                From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Fred Nickols
                Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 4:10 PM
                To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP

                 

                 

                G'day, Andrew. I assume you're an Aussie because my Kiwi friends tell me they don't use that greeting.

                I don't think you'll like my response to your inquiry but I'll send it along anyway.

                If you're looking for a "governance" mechanism in relation to a CoP, then I submit to you that you (or your sponsor or boss or whomever) isn't really interested in a real CoP. CoPs are "communities of practice" and they are not governed and especially not by any outside agency.

                So I ask you in return, what kind of group are you trying to establish that requires a "governance mechanism"?

                Fred Nickols

                --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "Andrew Mahar" <andrew@...> wrote:
                >
                > G'day,
                >
                > I am working on assisting in the establishment of a CoP looking at making more efficient and effective use of technology in community service organisations.
                >
                > I am looking for any governance model and advice that people may have that may assist me.
                >
                > best wishes
                >
                > andrew
                >

              • Fred Nickols
                And I would wager large sums at long odds that these communities are not CoPs in the true sense of that term. Lest anyone consider me a spoilsport or just a
                Message 7 of 18 , Aug 9, 2011
                • 0 Attachment
                  And I would wager large sums at long odds that these "communities" are not CoPs in the true sense of that term.

                  Lest anyone consider me a spoilsport or just a picky old man, I'm not opposed to what I call "contrived" CoPs, I'm just averse to lumping them in with what we used to call "the real McCoy."

                  Fred Nickols

                  --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "John Parboosingh" <parboo@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Many thanks for these very valid comments. I dont think anyone has mentioned
                  > the publication by McDermott R, Archibald D. Harnessing your staff's
                  > informal network. Harvard Bus Rev 2010;88:82-9. These authors looked at
                  > companies and organizations that have used CoPs successfully and draw the
                  > conclusion that to be valuable to an organization, CoPs must establish
                  > community goals and deliverables that focus on what’s important to the
                  > organization; provide real governance with formal relationships with the
                  > organization’s leadership; and set high management expectations. Also,
                  > organization leaders have to set aside time for community participation and
                  > provide training for facilitators. To achieve these ambitious goals they
                  > need to apply a governance model. Yet they still remain different from high
                  > performance teams?
                  >
                  > John Parboosingh MB FRCSC
                  > Professor Emeritus, University of Calgary
                  > Consultant, Community Learning
                  >
                  > Mailing address: 146 Rundle Crescent, Canmore,
                  > Alberta, Canada T1W 2L6
                  > Phone (403) 609-3321
                  > Fax: (403) 609-3371
                  > Email address: parboo@...
                  >
                  > ----- Original Message -----
                  > From: peter bond
                  > To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                  > Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2011 6:03 AM
                  > Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Hi Folks, It's a long time since I posted but I have been tempted out of
                  > lurkerdom to agree (once again) with Fred and to respond to Andrew's query
                  > (in a roundabout way) and John's last post.
                  >
                  > This issue of governance and managing cops has been raised here before. I
                  > object to the idea because what we came to call CoPs, in the early days,
                  > were supposed to have spontaneously organised around some kind of
                  > enterprise. Thus, certainly in their embryonic state, they were
                  > self-organising, self-managing, self-directing social entities which meant
                  > that everyone managed and made a contribution according to their strengths
                  > with respect to the enterprise. Here's a long quote from you-know-who.
                  >
                  > "Being alive as human beings means we are constantly engaged in the pursuit
                  > of enterprises of all kinds, from ensuring our physical survival to seeking
                  > the most lofty pleasures. As we define these enterprises and engage in their
                  > pursuit together, we interact with each other and with the world and we tune
                  > our relations with each other and with the world accordingly. In other
                  > words, we learn. Over time, this collective learning results in practices
                  > that reflect both
                  > the pursuit of our enterprises and the attendant social relations. These
                  > practices are thus the property of a kind of community created over time by
                  > the pursuit of a shared enterprise. It makes sense, therefore, to call these
                  > kinds of communities communities of practice.’
                  >
                  > Etienne Wenger from his book communities of practice: learning, meaning, and
                  > identity
                  >
                  > I think it was after reading this that I concluded that the term CoP was
                  > coined to highlight something about ordinary social groups that Lave and
                  > Wenger found to be extraordinary, that people learn to survive and grow in a
                  > particular environment or landscape as coherent social groups in a
                  > characteristic manner. I think the following is also from the introductory
                  > chapter of the same book.
                  >
                  > The term community of practice is a starting point for a project to develop
                  > a broader conceptual frame to articulate the phenomenon of social learning
                  > (learning in a social context).
                  >
                  > To me, the book I've just referred to could be the bible of community
                  > development, NOT 'community of practice' development, because my reading is
                  > that CoPs don't exist as something special and different, this is simply a
                  > term to bring out something about social group development that had perhaps
                  > not been fully appreciated before, even though the idea of the learning
                  > organisation preceded it. It is, therefore, no wonder that EW saw CoPs
                  > everywhere, they were there to be observed because what he and Jean Lave
                  > were studying, from an anthropological perspective, were simply social
                  > groups some of which had endured sometimes over generations. It's,
                  > therefore, no wonder that one can point to long standing CoPs associated
                  > with ancient religions, because they are simply the same kind of social
                  > groups that historians, sociologists and anthropologists study day in day
                  > out.
                  >
                  > Back to governance. The answer to designing a 'governance system' is, again,
                  > to be found deep in EW's 1998 book, but first something else to consider.
                  >
                  > We know from studies of social group formation that people we label
                  > 'leaders' and 'managers' emerge over time. Also, the hierarchical model of
                  > how organisations 'work' is culturally engrained. It's understandable, then,
                  > for us to want to design some kind of control mechanism to ensure a 'CoP'
                  > meets it's goals. Over the last century or so, probably since Frederick
                  > Taylor's treatise on best management practice, the need for some kind of
                  > hierarchical control (which is what governance really means) architecture
                  > has dominated organisation design. It's in the more recent past that ideas
                  > such as self-organization have begun to trickle through to the corporate
                  > manager's consciousness. For want of a better label, this is about
                  > self-governance, its about democracy, its about achieving consensus through
                  > conversation. Its about creating 'norms of practice' or ' norms of
                  > behaviour' through agreement and its through the accepted norms that social
                  > group regulation (actually self-regulation) is achieved. (I prefer to use
                  > the term 'regulation' to 'control' or 'governance'.)
                  >
                  > Like John's religious instittutions, there are many social
                  > groups/communities that exist today in a form that has changed only very
                  > slowly over 1000s of years. Hunter gatherers in Africa, in South America,
                  > and Papua New Guinea are examples. How are they governed? Are they
                  > communities, or communities of practice? Well they certainly are communities
                  > that practice, and as EW says (more or less), it is through practices that
                  > they maintain their characteristic forms. Practice creates and maintains
                  > structures and, as the sociologist Anthony Giddens recognised sometime in
                  > the mid 1970s, the structure of an organization, which is constituted by the
                  > parts (people and objects/artefacts) and the relations between them,
                  > simultaneously enables and constrains practices. Moreover, structure is the
                  > result of practices. Structure, which is at least partially the source of a
                  > social group's characteristics, tends to be conserved, or changes only
                  > gradually. It's this structure that enables 'control'. Structure tends to be
                  > something we are generally unconscious of, and I think its a reasonable step
                  > to take to suggest that structure is created and maintained through what EW
                  > refers to as a repertoire, which comprises the routines, words, tools (which
                  > are the results of practices, ways of doing things, stories, gestures,
                  > symbols, genres (artefacts or actions similar in style or form)....
                  >
                  > Now I know its bad form here to mention teams and team working in the same
                  > sentence as communities of practice, but there I've done it. Researchers of
                  > team working (yes it still thrives) refers to 'a something' that holds teams
                  > together and aids collective action and a feeling of 'togertheness', it's
                  > something notional, it's not written down, but it is found to be shared by
                  > all team members. It's got various names, but I think 'shared cognitive
                  > schema' gives you a good idea of what it is. The hunter gatherers societies
                  > that are contemporary with our own have gotten by without writing , so they
                  > don't don't issue memos about performance, or lack of it, but they have a
                  > shared cognitive schema that acts like a kind of reference framework for
                  > every member. And as they grow up, children learn it, they learn by
                  > observing and then participating in routines, they learn the words to
                  > describe the tools used by the group, they learn the ways of doing things
                  > from stories, they learn gestures and come to know what symbols mean. So
                  > they learn what EW calls the repertoire which, as he recognises in his book,
                  > is similar to Pierre Bourdieu's Habitus.
                  >
                  > If anyone is looking for a 'governance system. I would recommend knowing
                  > more about the creation and maintainance of the repertoire, and don't
                  > underestimate the influence of objects (the importance of boundary objects
                  > is, I think, already recognised in the 'CoP' literature e.g. by Kimble and
                  > Hildreth). A repertoire is, at the very least, part of an organizational
                  > regulatory system. It reflects the structure of an organization, and is a
                  > reflection of it. It evolves through critical evaluation, by the collective,
                  > of the practices of individuals who produce the results necessary for the
                  > conservation of the collective bound together by a common enterprise. Even
                  > though 'managing' and 'leading' roles exist they only do so through the
                  > goodwill or consensus of the collective, and I firmly believe that all truly
                  > social groups are self-regulating, members just need a reference framework.
                  > If a social group does allow the emergence of 'leaders' or 'managers', these
                  > members can only help to regulate the behaviour of the collective with
                  > reference to a repertoire, or a shared cognitive schema, only some of which
                  > may be made explicit in written documents or other media.
                  >
                  > If anyone is interested in a more radical approach to team and social group
                  > formation, especially virtual teams (CoPs if you prefer), I have a chapter
                  > in a book to be found here
                  > http://www.igi-global.com/bookstore/titledetails.aspx?titleid=45965. The
                  > piece is entitled: A complex theory and model of distributed team working.
                  > If you are in academia you can get copies of some of my professional and
                  > theoretical writing here. http://liverpool.academia.edu/PeterBond/About
                  >
                  > Just in case.. I am away on hols for a few days. If there are any responses
                  > I will address them next week.
                  >
                  > cheers for now.
                  >
                  > Peter
                  >
                  > ========================================
                  > Message Received: Aug 09 2011, 05:25 AM
                  > From: "John David Smith"
                  > To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                  > Cc:
                  > Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                  >
                  > But Fred, wouldn't you agree that around a community of practice there may
                  > need to be a governance mechanism? If a community requires resources or
                  > produces artifacts of some sort, it may need to have some way of taking care
                  > of them: when the midwives were learning in the Yucatan many years ago, this
                  > wasn't an issue but in this day and age, resources (including platforms like
                  > yahoogroups) usually have owners and legal mechanisms. Whether we like it
                  > or not.
                  >
                  > In CPsquare we've just been doing a marathon look at various non-secular
                  > communities of practice. It depends what scale you look at, but some of
                  > these communities are very long lived. Like thousands of years. Josh
                  > Plaskoff and Estee Solomon Gray argued that the social structures and
                  > mechanisms in Judaism corresponded exactly to the theories we use to think
                  > about communities of practice, so they were saying: they are one and the
                  > same. And within Judaism there are organizations galore. And within some
                  > of those organizations they are supporting many communities of practice,
                  > with all the risks that "support" entails. So no hard & fast answers, in my
                  > opinion.
                  >
                  > I've become convinced that even though Wenger, McDermott & Snyder tried to
                  > be very clear that what they were talking about was not necessarily a
                  > corporate phenomenon, the conversation as been largely organization-oriented
                  > (and secular). There is much to be learned about how communities function,
                  > propagate themselves, and coexist with organizations from looking at
                  > religious and spiritual examples.
                  >
                  > Lest we go meta, too fast and irreversibly, I would ask Andrew whether he
                  > can find any examples that are working (however imperfectly) in his
                  > vicinity. I think we see that communities of practice are very hardy and
                  > can exist in a lot of different settings (although every setting will
                  > influence behavior and, possibly, success).
                  >
                  > John
                  >
                  > * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd
                  >
                  > * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net
                  >
                  > * Got ilk?
                  >
                  > From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                  > Of Fred Nickols
                  > Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 4:10 PM
                  > To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                  >
                  > G'day, Andrew. I assume you're an Aussie because my Kiwi friends tell me
                  > they don't use that greeting.
                  >
                  > I don't think you'll like my response to your inquiry but I'll send it along
                  > anyway.
                  >
                  > If you're looking for a "governance" mechanism in relation to a CoP, then I
                  > submit to you that you (or your sponsor or boss or whomever) isn't really
                  > interested in a real CoP. CoPs are "communities of practice" and they are
                  > not governed and especially not by any outside agency.
                  >
                  > So I ask you in return, what kind of group are you trying to establish that
                  > requires a "governance mechanism"?
                  >
                  > Fred Nickols
                  >
                  > --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com ,
                  > "Andrew Mahar" wrote:
                  > >
                  > > G'day,
                  > >
                  > > I am working on assisting in the establishment of a CoP looking at making
                  > more efficient and effective use of technology in community service
                  > organisations.
                  > >
                  > > I am looking for any governance model and advice that people may have that
                  > may assist me.
                  > >
                  > > best wishes
                  > >
                  > > andrew
                  > >
                  >
                  > ========================================
                  > Message Received: Aug 09 2011, 05:25 AM
                  > From: "John David Smith"
                  > To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                  > Cc:
                  > Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                  >
                  > But Fred, wouldn't you agree that around a community of practice there may
                  > need to be a governance mechanism? If a community requires resources or
                  > produces artifacts of some sort, it may need to have some way of taking care
                  > of them: when the midwives were learning in the Yucatan many years ago, this
                  > wasn't an issue but in this day and age, resources (including platforms like
                  > yahoogroups) usually have owners and legal mechanisms. Whether we like it
                  > or not.
                  >
                  > In CPsquare we've just been doing a marathon look at various non-secular
                  > communities of practice. It depends what scale you look at, but some of
                  > these communities are very long lived. Like thousands of years. Josh
                  > Plaskoff and Estee Solomon Gray argued that the social structures and
                  > mechanisms in Judaism corresponded exactly to the theories we use to think
                  > about communities of practice, so they were saying: they are one and the
                  > same. And within Judaism there are organizations galore. And within some
                  > of those organizations they are supporting many communities of practice,
                  > with all the risks that "support" entails. So no hard & fast answers, in my
                  > opinion.
                  >
                  > I've become convinced that even though Wenger, McDermott & Snyder tried to
                  > be very clear that what they were talking about was not necessarily a
                  > corporate phenomenon, the conversation as been largely organization-oriented
                  > (and secular). There is much to be learned about how communities function,
                  > propagate themselves, and coexist with organizations from looking at
                  > religious and spiritual examples.
                  >
                  > Lest we go meta, too fast and irreversibly, I would ask Andrew whether he
                  > can find any examples that are working (however imperfectly) in his
                  > vicinity. I think we see that communities of practice are very hardy and
                  > can exist in a lot of different settings (although every setting will
                  > influence behavior and, possibly, success).
                  >
                  > John
                  >
                  > * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd
                  >
                  > * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net
                  >
                  > * Got ilk?
                  >
                  > From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                  > Of Fred Nickols
                  > Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 4:10 PM
                  > To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                  >
                  > G'day, Andrew. I assume you're an Aussie because my Kiwi friends tell me
                  > they don't use that greeting.
                  >
                  > I don't think you'll like my response to your inquiry but I'll send it along
                  > anyway.
                  >
                  > If you're looking for a "governance" mechanism in relation to a CoP, then I
                  > submit to you that you (or your sponsor or boss or whomever) isn't really
                  > interested in a real CoP. CoPs are "communities of practice" and they are
                  > not governed and especially not by any outside agency.
                  >
                  > So I ask you in return, what kind of group are you trying to establish that
                  > requires a "governance mechanism"?
                  >
                  > Fred Nickols
                  >
                  > --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com ,
                  > "Andrew Mahar" wrote:
                  > >
                  > > G'day,
                  > >
                  > > I am working on assisting in the establishment of a CoP looking at making
                  > more efficient and effective use of technology in community service
                  > organisations.
                  > >
                  > > I am looking for any governance model and advice that people may have that
                  > may assist me.
                  > >
                  > > best wishes
                  > >
                  > > andrew
                  > >
                  >
                • Fred Nickols
                  Yo, Peter! I m going to pick a nit. I would be inclined to separate teamwork and teams from CoPs. I will readily agree that many if not all CoPs are
                  Message 8 of 18 , Aug 9, 2011
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Yo, Peter! I'm going to pick a nit. I would be inclined to separate "teamwork" and "teams" from "CoPs." I will readily agree that many if not all CoPs are marked by "teamwork." However, I am not inclined to so readily agree that "teams" and "CoPs" are other than cousins.

                    Fred Nickols

                    --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, peter bond <plbond@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Hi John,Just to pick up on your reference to team at the end of your post. I think the distinction between teams and CoPs has always been a false and misleading one, which has endured, probably, from a reluctance of CoP proponents to delve into the rich(er) history of the formation of small social groups within larger organisations. The early writing on teams and their benefits to the larger group is almost indistinguishable from what we read are the benefits of CoPs. So CoPs might span the boundary of formal depts, years ago such social entities were described as informal social groups, with a recognised agenda.
                    >
                    > A couple of extracts will illustrate what I mean.
                    >
                    > Teamwork in organizations takes many forms, ranging from informal to ad hoc three person caucuses beside the water cooler to the highly structured
                    > monthly meetings of the board of directors. Teamwork is any form of joint action by a group of people to pursue a common goal. It involves the subordination of individual interests to group identity and coordinated efforts. By definition, any organization is a team. However, teamwork has a positive connotation that goes beyond coordination and efficiency. teamwork implies unity of purpose, interdependent activities, willing cooperation, and a sense of belonging.’ (Organization and Management, Kast and Rozenzweig: 1985, p353) or....
                    >
                    > Many informal, unauthorized, groups develop spontaneously because of a felt need of the individuals involved…..Informal groups can and
                    > do span vertical levels in many organizations. The ‘tie that binds' may be based on the development of an interest in a particular idea or
                    > project within the scope of formal endeavour.”
                    >
                    > An extract from a book of 1960 by the famous Douglas McGregor of theory X and Y fame. To me, this sounds remarkably like what we are now calling a CoP.
                    >
                    > Pete
                    >
                    >
                    > ========================================
                    > Message Received: Aug 09 2011, 03:41 PM
                    > From: "John Parboosingh"
                    >
                    > To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                    > Cc:
                    > Subject: Re: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                    >
                    > Many thanks for these very valid comments. I dont think anyone has mentioned
                    > the publication by McDermott R, Archibald D. Harnessing your staff's
                    > informal network. Harvard Bus Rev 2010;88:82-9. These authors looked at
                    > companies and organizations that have used CoPs successfully and draw the
                    > conclusion that to be valuable to an organization, CoPs must establish
                    > community goals and deliverables that focus on what’s important to the
                    > organization; provide real governance with formal relationships with the
                    > organization’s leadership; and set high management expectations. Also,
                    > organization leaders have to set aside time for community participation and
                    > provide training for facilitators. To achieve these ambitious goals they
                    > need to apply a governance model. Yet they still remain different from high
                    > performance teams?
                    >
                    > John Parboosingh MB FRCSC
                    > Professor Emeritus, University of Calgary
                    > Consultant, Community Learning
                    >
                    > Mailing address: 146 Rundle Crescent, Canmore,
                    > Alberta, Canada T1W 2L6
                    > Phone (403) 609-3321
                    > Fax: (403) 609-3371
                    > Email address: parboo@...
                    >
                    > ----- Original Message -----
                    > From: peter bond
                    > To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                    > Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2011 6:03 AM
                    > Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Hi Folks, It's a long time since I posted but I have been tempted out of
                    > lurkerdom to agree (once again) with Fred and to respond to Andrew's query
                    > (in a roundabout way) and John's last post.
                    >
                    > This issue of governance and managing cops has been raised here before. I
                    > object to the idea because what we came to call CoPs, in the early days,
                    > were supposed to have spontaneously organised around some kind of
                    > enterprise. Thus, certainly in their embryonic state, they were
                    > self-organising, self-managing, self-directing social entities which meant
                    > that everyone managed and made a contribution according to their strengths
                    > with respect to the enterprise. Here's a long quote from you-know-who.
                    >
                    > "Being alive as human beings means we are constantly engaged in the pursuit
                    > of enterprises of all kinds, from ensuring our physical survival to seeking
                    > the most lofty pleasures. As we define these enterprises and engage in their
                    > pursuit together, we interact with each other and with the world and we tune
                    > our relations with each other and with the world accordingly. In other
                    > words, we learn. Over time, this collective learning results in practices
                    > that reflect both
                    > the pursuit of our enterprises and the attendant social relations. These
                    > practices are thus the property of a kind of community created over time by
                    > the pursuit of a shared enterprise. It makes sense, therefore, to call these
                    > kinds of communities communities of practice.’
                    >
                    > Etienne Wenger from his book communities of practice: learning, meaning, and
                    > identity
                    >
                    > I think it was after reading this that I concluded that the term CoP was
                    > coined to highlight something about ordinary social groups that Lave and
                    > Wenger found to be extraordinary, that people learn to survive and grow in a
                    > particular environment or landscape as coherent social groups in a
                    > characteristic manner. I think the following is also from the introductory
                    > chapter of the same book.
                    >
                    > The term community of practice is a starting point for a project to develop
                    > a broader conceptual frame to articulate the phenomenon of social learning
                    > (learning in a social context).
                    >
                    > To me, the book I've just referred to could be the bible of community
                    > development, NOT 'community of practice' development, because my reading is
                    > that CoPs don't exist as something special and different, this is simply a
                    > term to bring out something about social group development that had perhaps
                    > not been fully appreciated before, even though the idea of the learning
                    > organisation preceded it. It is, therefore, no wonder that EW saw CoPs
                    > everywhere, they were there to be observed because what he and Jean Lave
                    > were studying, from an anthropological perspective, were simply social
                    > groups some of which had endured sometimes over generations. It's,
                    > therefore, no wonder that one can point to long standing CoPs associated
                    > with ancient religions, because they are simply the same kind of social
                    > groups that historians, sociologists and anthropologists study day in day
                    > out.
                    >
                    > Back to governance. The answer to designing a 'governance system' is, again,
                    > to be found deep in EW's 1998 book, but first something else to consider.
                    >
                    > We know from studies of social group formation that people we label
                    > 'leaders' and 'managers' emerge over time. Also, the hierarchical model of
                    > how organisations 'work' is culturally engrained. It's understandable, then,
                    > for us to want to design some kind of control mechanism to ensure a 'CoP'
                    > meets it's goals. Over the last century or so, probably since Frederick
                    > Taylor's treatise on best management practice, the need for some kind of
                    > hierarchical control (which is what governance really means) architecture
                    > has dominated organisation design. It's in the more recent past that ideas
                    > such as self-organization have begun to trickle through to the corporate
                    > manager's consciousness. For want of a better label, this is about
                    > self-governance, its about democracy, its about achieving consensus through
                    > conversation. Its about creating 'norms of practice' or ' norms of
                    > behaviour' through agreement and its through the accepted norms that social
                    > group regulation (actually self-regulation) is achieved. (I prefer to use
                    > the term 'regulation' to 'control' or 'governance'.)
                    >
                    > Like John's religious instittutions, there are many social
                    > groups/communities that exist today in a form that has changed only very
                    > slowly over 1000s of years. Hunter gatherers in Africa, in South America,
                    > and Papua New Guinea are examples. How are they governed? Are they
                    > communities, or communities of practice? Well they certainly are communities
                    > that practice, and as EW says (more or less), it is through practices that
                    > they maintain their characteristic forms. Practice creates and maintains
                    > structures and, as the sociologist Anthony Giddens recognised sometime in
                    > the mid 1970s, the structure of an organization, which is constituted by the
                    > parts (people and objects/artefacts) and the relations between them,
                    > simultaneously enables and constrains practices. Moreover, structure is the
                    > result of practices. Structure, which is at least partially the source of a
                    > social group's characteristics, tends to be conserved, or changes only
                    > gradually. It's this structure that enables 'control'. Structure tends to be
                    > something we are generally unconscious of, and I think its a reasonable step
                    > to take to suggest that structure is created and maintained through what EW
                    > refers to as a repertoire, which comprises the routines, words, tools (which
                    > are the results of practices, ways of doing things, stories, gestures,
                    > symbols, genres (artefacts or actions similar in style or form)....
                    >
                    > Now I know its bad form here to mention teams and team working in the same
                    > sentence as communities of practice, but there I've done it. Researchers of
                    > team working (yes it still thrives) refers to 'a something' that holds teams
                    > together and aids collective action and a feeling of 'togertheness', it's
                    > something notional, it's not written down, but it is found to be shared by
                    > all team members. It's got various names, but I think 'shared cognitive
                    > schema' gives you a good idea of what it is. The hunter gatherers societies
                    > that are contemporary with our own have gotten by without writing , so they
                    > don't don't issue memos about performance, or lack of it, but they have a
                    > shared cognitive schema that acts like a kind of reference framework for
                    > every member. And as they grow up, children learn it, they learn by
                    > observing and then participating in routines, they learn the words to
                    > describe the tools used by the group, they learn the ways of doing things
                    > from stories, they learn gestures and come to know what symbols mean. So
                    > they learn what EW calls the repertoire which, as he recognises in his book,
                    > is similar to Pierre Bourdieu's Habitus.
                    >
                    > If anyone is looking for a 'governance system. I would recommend knowing
                    > more about the creation and maintainance of the repertoire, and don't
                    > underestimate the influence of objects (the importance of boundary objects
                    > is, I think, already recognised in the 'CoP' literature e.g. by Kimble and
                    > Hildreth). A repertoire is, at the very least, part of an organizational
                    > regulatory system. It reflects the structure of an organization, and is a
                    > reflection of it. It evolves through critical evaluation, by the collective,
                    > of the practices of individuals who produce the results necessary for the
                    > conservation of the collective bound together by a common enterprise. Even
                    > though 'managing' and 'leading' roles exist they only do so through the
                    > goodwill or consensus of the collective, and I firmly believe that all truly
                    > social groups are self-regulating, members just need a reference framework.
                    > If a social group does allow the emergence of 'leaders' or 'managers', these
                    > members can only help to regulate the behaviour of the collective with
                    > reference to a repertoire, or a shared cognitive schema, only some of which
                    > may be made explicit in written documents or other media.
                    >
                    > If anyone is interested in a more radical approach to team and social group
                    > formation, especially virtual teams (CoPs if you prefer), I have a chapter
                    > in a book to be found here
                    > http://www.igi-global.com/bookstore/titledetails.aspx?titleid=45965. The
                    > piece is entitled: A complex theory and model of distributed team working.
                    > If you are in academia you can get copies of some of my professional and
                    > theoretical writing here. http://liverpool.academia.edu/PeterBond/About
                    >
                    > Just in case.. I am away on hols for a few days. If there are any responses
                    > I will address them next week.
                    >
                    > cheers for now.
                    >
                    > Peter
                    >
                    > ========================================
                    > Message Received: Aug 09 2011, 05:25 AM
                    > From: "John David Smith"
                    > To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                    > Cc:
                    > Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                    >
                    > But Fred, wouldn't you agree that around a community of practice there may
                    > need to be a governance mechanism? If a community requires resources or
                    > produces artifacts of some sort, it may need to have some way of taking care
                    > of them: when the midwives were learning in the Yucatan many years ago, this
                    > wasn't an issue but in this day and age, resources (including platforms like
                    > yahoogroups) usually have owners and legal mechanisms. Whether we like it
                    > or not.
                    >
                    > In CPsquare we've just been doing a marathon look at various non-secular
                    > communities of practice. It depends what scale you look at, but some of
                    > these communities are very long lived. Like thousands of years. Josh
                    > Plaskoff and Estee Solomon Gray argued that the social structures and
                    > mechanisms in Judaism corresponded exactly to the theories we use to think
                    > about communities of practice, so they were saying: they are one and the
                    > same. And within Judaism there are organizations galore. And within some
                    > of those organizations they are supporting many communities of practice,
                    > with all the risks that "support" entails. So no hard & fast answers, in my
                    > opinion.
                    >
                    > I've become convinced that even though Wenger, McDermott & Snyder tried to
                    > be very clear that what they were talking about was not necessarily a
                    > corporate phenomenon, the conversation as been largely organization-oriented
                    > (and secular). There is much to be learned about how communities function,
                    > propagate themselves, and coexist with organizations from looking at
                    > religious and spiritual examples.
                    >
                    > Lest we go meta, too fast and irreversibly, I would ask Andrew whether he
                    > can find any examples that are working (however imperfectly) in his
                    > vicinity. I think we see that communities of practice are very hardy and
                    > can exist in a lot of different settings (although every setting will
                    > influence behavior and, possibly, success).
                    >
                    > John
                    >
                    > * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd
                    >
                    > * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net
                    >
                    > * Got ilk?
                    >
                    > From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                    > Of Fred Nickols
                    > Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 4:10 PM
                    > To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                    > Subject: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                    >
                    > G'day, Andrew. I assume you're an Aussie because my Kiwi friends tell me
                    > they don't use that greeting.
                    >
                    > I don't think you'll like my response to your inquiry but I'll send it along
                    > anyway.
                    >
                    > If you're looking for a "governance" mechanism in relation to a CoP, then I
                    > submit to you that you (or your sponsor or boss or whomever) isn't really
                    > interested in a real CoP. CoPs are "communities of practice" and they are
                    > not governed and especially not by any outside agency.
                    >
                    > So I ask you in return, what kind of group are you trying to establish that
                    > requires a "governance mechanism"?
                    >
                    > Fred Nickols
                    >
                    > --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com ,
                    > "Andrew Mahar" wrote:
                    > >
                    > > G'day,
                    > >
                    > > I am working on assisting in the establishment of a CoP looking at making
                    > more efficient and effective use of technology in community service
                    > organisations.
                    > >
                    > > I am looking for any governance model and advice that people may have that
                    > may assist me.
                    > >
                    > > best wishes
                    > >
                    > > andrew
                    > >
                    >
                    > ========================================
                    > Message Received: Aug 09 2011, 05:25 AM
                    > From: "John David Smith"
                    > To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                    > Cc:
                    > Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                    >
                    > But Fred, wouldn't you agree that around a community of practice there may
                    > need to be a governance mechanism? If a community requires resources or
                    > produces artifacts of some sort, it may need to have some way of taking care
                    > of them: when the midwives were learning in the Yucatan many years ago, this
                    > wasn't an issue but in this day and age, resources (including platforms like
                    > yahoogroups) usually have owners and legal mechanisms. Whether we like it
                    > or not.
                    >
                    > In CPsquare we've just been doing a marathon look at various non-secular
                    > communities of practice. It depends what scale you look at, but some of
                    > these communities are very long lived. Like thousands of years. Josh
                    > Plaskoff and Estee Solomon Gray argued that the social structures and
                    > mechanisms in Judaism corresponded exactly to the theories we use to think
                    > about communities of practice, so they were saying: they are one and the
                    > same. And within Judaism there are organizations galore. And within some
                    > of those organizations they are supporting many communities of practice,
                    > with all the risks that "support" entails. So no hard & fast answers, in my
                    > opinion.
                    >
                    > I've become convinced that even though Wenger, McDermott & Snyder tried to
                    > be very clear that what they were talking about was not necessarily a
                    > corporate phenomenon, the conversation as been largely organization-oriented
                    > (and secular). There is much to be learned about how communities function,
                    > propagate themselves, and coexist with organizations from looking at
                    > religious and spiritual examples.
                    >
                    > Lest we go meta, too fast and irreversibly, I would ask Andrew whether he
                    > can find any examples that are working (however imperfectly) in his
                    > vicinity. I think we see that communities of practice are very hardy and
                    > can exist in a lot of different settings (although every setting will
                    > influence behavior and, possibly, success).
                    >
                    > John
                    >
                    > * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd
                    >
                    > * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net
                    >
                    > * Got ilk?
                    >
                    > From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                    > Of Fred Nickols
                    > Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 4:10 PM
                    > To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                    > Subject: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                    >
                    > G'day, Andrew. I assume you're an Aussie because my Kiwi friends tell me
                    > they don't use that greeting.
                    >
                    > I don't think you'll like my response to your inquiry but I'll send it along
                    > anyway.
                    >
                    > If you're looking for a "governance" mechanism in relation to a CoP, then I
                    > submit to you that you (or your sponsor or boss or whomever) isn't really
                    > interested in a real CoP. CoPs are "communities of practice" and they are
                    > not governed and especially not by any outside agency.
                    >
                    > So I ask you in return, what kind of group are you trying to establish that
                    > requires a "governance mechanism"?
                    >
                    > Fred Nickols
                    >
                    > --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com ,
                    > "Andrew Mahar" wrote:
                    > >
                    > > G'day,
                    > >
                    > > I am working on assisting in the establishment of a CoP looking at making
                    > more efficient and effective use of technology in community service
                    > organisations.
                    > >
                    > > I am looking for any governance model and advice that people may have that
                    > may assist me.
                    > >
                    > > best wishes
                    > >
                    > > andrew
                    > >
                    >
                  • John David Smith
                    Hey Pete, Your post is good reading, but it also breaks a record for length! I don’t think it’s so helpful to debate whether a group is or is not, but
                    Message 9 of 18 , Aug 9, 2011
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                      Hey Pete,

                       

                      Your post is good reading, but it also breaks a record for length!

                      I don’t think it’s so helpful to debate whether a group is or is not, but that’s important to some people.  It seems to me that as teams become more distributed and cross more organizational boundaries, a community of practice perspective becomes useful.   I explored how repertoire exists and evolves in a team setting in another chapter of the same book yours is in:

                      http://learningalliances.net/talks_etc/  

                       

                      I tried to convince Enrique Murillo (http://itam.academia.edu/EMurillo) when he was a guest in CPsquare a couple months ago that it what we do (e.g., if we look at a group as if it were a community of practice) matters more than the categories, but he wouldn’t buy it. 

                       

                      I think the connection with Maturana & Varella is important, by the way.

                       

                      John

                      * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd

                      * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net

                      * Got ilk?

                    • pete bond
                      Hi John/Fred, This is definitely my last post before I go on hols. I suppose I ve let the cat out of the bag this time. The last few years I ve convinced
                      Message 10 of 18 , Aug 10, 2011
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Hi John/Fred, This is definitely my last post before I go on hols.

                        I suppose I've let the cat out of the bag this time. The last few years
                        I've convinced myself that CoPs don't exist , only the coherent social
                        groups we distinguish by drawing boundaries around them. As system
                        theory suggests, where the boundary is drawn is highly subjective, so
                        they can be inter- or intra- departmental or organizational. In this
                        respect, judging by your last post, I think I'm in general agreement
                        with you John.

                        Despite what I've said about CoPs, I still think EW's 1998 book is one
                        of the better ones on social system development. Gives Senge on the
                        learning organization a run for his money anyway.

                        I've not got my copy of the book yet so I've not managed to read your
                        chapter. I will do, with interest.

                        Pete

                        PS. I think I've written longer responses in the past. I wish I still
                        had the time to do so again.


                        >
                        >
                        > Hey Pete,
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Your post is good reading, but it also breaks a record for length!
                        >
                        > I don’t think it’s so helpful to debate whether a group is or is not,
                        > but that’s important to some people. It seems to me that as teams
                        > become more distributed and cross more organizational boundaries, a
                        > community of practice perspective *becomes useful*. I explored how
                        > repertoire exists and evolves in a team setting in another chapter of
                        > the same book yours is in:
                        >
                        > http://learningalliances.net/talks_etc/
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > I tried to convince Enrique Murillo
                        > (http://itam.academia.edu/EMurillo) when he was a guest in CPsquare a
                        > couple months ago that it *what we do *(e.g., if we look at a group
                        > /as if /it were a community of practice) matters more than the
                        > categories, but he wouldn’t buy it.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > I think the connection with Maturana & Varella is important, by the way.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > John
                        >
                        > * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd
                        >
                        > * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net
                        >
                        > * Got ilk?
                        >
                        >
                      • Jacqueline Saldana
                        Hello John, I see that other colleagues have more experience and strong opinions about the concept of CoPs. What I can share with you about the governance
                        Message 11 of 18 , Aug 10, 2011
                        • 0 Attachment

                          Hello John,


                          I see that other colleagues have more experience and strong opinions about the concept of CoPs. What I can share with you about the governance structure of professional CoPs is the following:


                          I worked for three years as project manager for 20 CoPs in the field of pharmaceutical engineering. Some of these CoPs have existed for 10 years or more, whereas others are younger and other emerged during my work with this organization. In this professional association the oldest CoP is the Investigational Products CoP and is a community of clinical trial scientists expanded today to North America, Europe, and Japan. The youngest one works with oral solid dosages. I decided to study CoPs as part of my doctoral dissertation. To choose my study variables, I conducted an in-depth preliminary research that included interviews with the CoPs champions (e.g., sponsors, facilitators) and review of archival documentation (e.g., meeting minutes, chat discussions, online postings). I basically wrote the story and development of each of the 20 CoPs and believe me you when I say these groups develop different “forms” of governance structures. My work stays with these CoPs, as I provided them in gratitude with complete reports used today for different purposes, from brochures to Website content.


                          The second part of my study encompassed a systematic literature review of 186 scientific studies with the following criteria, (a) professional CoPs, (b) studies conducted from 2000 to 2011, (c) studies that manifested clearly a scientific design and results. These studies covered more than 20 professional disciplines in more than 18 countries. I quantified CoP social expressions, including governance structure characteristics. From my observations, personal experience, recording of CoP chat rooms, and results from a scientific literature review, I can share with you the following findings in regards to CoPs governance structure:


                               1. A great controversy surfaces regarding the topic of CoP governance structures. CoPs are a type of “invisible college,” in which people meet to solve problems related to a common topic, field, or passion. The idea of an intentional structure is uncommon, although most professional CoPs end developing some type of structure.


                               2. Professional CoPs are no different from civic or community groups of practitioners trying to advance a field or philosophy. CoPs in churches, art institutes, and multinational companies demonstrate similar challenges and social dynamics.


                               3. CoPs’ governance structures have different composition, from cellular committees to complex networks of subject matter experts. It all depends on the evolution of these CoPs and inherent characteristics of the profession. For example, some CoPs rely heavily in mentoring as succession planning mechanism. Others have a big amount of professionals coming and going under the umbrella of expert committees in charge of developing projects. Is unpredictable to know how a governance structure (loose or tight) will emerge from these groups. Is not after they emerge than we can (maybe) suggest organizational and leadership patterns.


                               4. Most CoPs manifest that they struggle with the idea of establishing a governance structure and sustaining “loose” groups of individuals creating freely while maintaining organizational order. Most CoPs develop with time communication patterns that get embedded in the social structure of that specific CoP. CoPs can mature in time and develop intrinsic characteristics, although the moment when a CoP can disappear is unpredictable.


                               5. Passion for a discipline, common sense of purpose, and community identity continue to be the “glue” that attaches and make CoPs prosper. Experts in the field of CoP recommend adding “goals” to this mix, although this can be dangerous because goals must come from within the interest of the CoP members. I have seen established CoPs rebel against goals and plans they believe are being imposed to the group with negative consequences for CoP sustainability. The only way you can promote commitment and action from CoP participants in when membership has true loyalty to a cause.  CoP identity plays a fundamental role in developing CoPs culture and organized efforts.


                          Although I began my doctoral dissertation believing I would study governance structure and succession planning, my research has moved me to study communication expressions and the relationship of these dynamics with innovation. I am in the process now of conducting a third phase of my research which is a quasi-experimental study comparing the social expressions, structure, and dynamics of three different life-cycle stages CoP (i.e., beginner, intermediate, advanced) to measure specific variables that I identified from the qualitative methods of observation and the systematic literature review. As part of a meta-analysis, variables received a statistical variance value; and now I am using these measurements to design a quantitative analysis to prove previous findings.


                          I have also talked with CoP sponsors in civic groups and private organizations to understand better this phenomenon. I am personally beginning a CoP movement in my own place of meditation which is Silent Unity of Tampa. I am still exploring alternatives but knowing my church involvement in the past, the establishment of an expert panel will be a solid beginning. A good deal of education will take part in this effort by knowing what moves a group of people, element that we all know is always the best start.


                          My best advice is: You cannot force a governance structure; this emerges throughout the development of the CoP. This happens when you provide a good platform for collective work (including IT), propitiate the opportunities for collaboration, identify strong champions, propose a preliminary set of goals, and identify individuals who share a passion for a topic/field/philosophy. The rest is the creative process for which the CoP grows and evolves.


                          I hope these simple observations help you in your efforts, either by confirming intuition of adding to the body of knowledge.


                          Respectfully yours,


                          Jackie



                          --- On Tue, 8/9/11, John David Smith <john.smith@...> wrote:

                          From: John David Smith <john.smith@...>
                          Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                          To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                          Date: Tuesday, August 9, 2011, 7:58 PM

                           

                          Jackie,

                           

                          It would be interesting to hear more about your dissertation and hear more about what the contexts for your observations were.

                           

                          John

                          * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd

                          * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net

                          * Got ilk?

                           

                          From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jacqueline Saldana
                          Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2011 12:51 AM
                          To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP

                           

                           

                          Hello Guys,

                           

                          I have been seen your communication thread and could not avoid to provide you with some insights about CoPs’ governance models. I have worked and studied extensively CoPs as part of my doctoral dissertation. Reality is the concept of CoP is today a strategy organizations use intentionally to spread knowledge and innovation. In my experience managing CoPs, the best governance structure is the one that emerges from within the membership. It is important to remember that shared leadership is a main characteristic of the CoP culture. Be also ready to deal with the 20/80 rule. Only 10% to 20% of community members produce concrete outcomes whereas from 90% to 80% of the membership are “passive consumers.” Engaging peripheral groups is a continual challenge to the majority of established CoPs. Creating a committee of volunteers willing to “champion” the community is a good start but the organization must let the CoP drive itself and this include building a network of collaborations that develop character, professional identify, and working methods. I have seen CoPs developed wonderful professional cultures, all different from each other in governance structure but all successful in performance because the working culture is based on inherent characteristics of a profession. 

                           

                          Please, see the excerpt below which confirms findings from emergent CoP theory. I am not including the list references, but this list is available if your have further interest.

                           

                          Today CoPs’ structures vary ranging from voluntary informal networks to globally dispersed project teams (Li, Grimshaw, Nielsen, Judd, et al., 2009). Professional CoPs usually do not develop mechanisms and protocols. CoPs are not formal departments, operational teams, or business units. Although all these structures share some characteristics, the CoP is the only group in which members are self-selected based on expertise or passion for a topic which evolves organically as long as members find value in their common interest. Some organizations take intentional steps to legitimize and support CoPs, which results in the institutionalization of communities forced to defend their jurisdictions and group identify (Ferlie, Fitzgerald, Wood, & Hawkins, 2005). Institutionalization (Wenger, McDermott, & Snyder, 2002) happens as result of organizations trying to align their objectives to the goals of groups of practitioners. The process of institutionalization is a delicate process structurally and culturally because requires the introduction of formal guidelines to legitimize CoPs and their roles as custodians of knowledge within informal associations.

                                      Koliba and Gajda (2009) identified degree of formalization as one research variable to consider as the theory of CoP evolves. Professional CoPs today manifest different degrees of formalization relatively to their role and use within professional organizations. Wenger (et al.) explained that the focus of successful CoPs in professional organizations should be to institutionalize CoPs to integrate their overall function to the organization. Organizations should promote only guidelines to elicit genuine passion for knowledge sharing, enabling them to safeguard knowledge for both professional and organizational benefits. The organic, informal, and spontaneous nature of CoPs challenges organizations that want to nurture CoPs because these are resistant to supervision and managerial intervention (Wenger & Snyder, 2004).

                           

                          Respectfully,

                           

                          Jackie Saldana

                                       



                          --- On Tue, 8/9/11, John David Smith <john.smith@...> wrote:


                          From: John David Smith <john.smith@...>
                          Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                          To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                          Date: Tuesday, August 9, 2011, 4:25 AM

                           

                          But Fred, wouldn’t you agree that around a community of practice there may need to be a governance mechanism?  If a community requires resources or produces artifacts of some sort, it may need to have some way of taking care of them: when the midwives were learning in the Yucatan many years ago, this wasn’t an issue but in this day and age, resources (including platforms like yahoogroups) usually have owners and legal mechanisms.  Whether we like it or not.

                           

                          In CPsquare we’ve just been doing a marathon look at various non-secular communities of practice.  It depends what scale you look at, but some of these communities are very long lived.  Like thousands of years.  Josh Plaskoff and Estee Solomon Gray argued that the social structures and mechanisms in Judaism corresponded exactly to the theories we use to think about communities of practice, so they were saying: they are one and the same.  And within Judaism there are organizations galore.  And within some of those organizations they are supporting many communities of practice, with all the risks that “support” entails.  So no hard & fast answers, in my opinion.

                           

                          I’ve become convinced that even though Wenger, McDermott & Snyder tried to be very clear that what they were talking about was not necessarily a corporate phenomenon, the conversation as been largely organization-oriented (and secular).  There is much to be learned about how communities function, propagate themselves, and coexist with organizations from looking at religious and spiritual examples.

                           

                          Lest we go meta, too fast and irreversibly, I would ask Andrew whether he can find any examples that are working (however imperfectly) in his vicinity.   I think we see that communities of practice are very hardy and can exist in a lot of different settings (although every setting will influence behavior and, possibly, success).

                           

                          John

                          * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd

                          * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net

                          * Got ilk?

                           

                          From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Fred Nickols
                          Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 4:10 PM
                          To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP

                           

                           

                          G'day, Andrew. I assume you're an Aussie because my Kiwi friends tell me they don't use that greeting.

                          I don't think you'll like my response to your inquiry but I'll send it along anyway.

                          If you're looking for a "governance" mechanism in relation to a CoP, then I submit to you that you (or your sponsor or boss or whomever) isn't really interested in a real CoP. CoPs are "communities of practice" and they are not governed and especially not by any outside agency.

                          So I ask you in return, what kind of group are you trying to establish that requires a "governance mechanism"?

                          Fred Nickols

                          --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "Andrew Mahar" <andrew@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > G'day,
                          >
                          > I am working on assisting in the establishment of a CoP looking at making more efficient and effective use of technology in community service organisations.
                          >
                          > I am looking for any governance model and advice that people may have that may assist me.
                          >
                          > best wishes
                          >
                          > andrew
                          >

                        • Asif Devji
                          Hi Jackie, Thanks for putting up such detailed information – I admire your tenacity and the consistent forward progress in your research. I d like to throw
                          Message 12 of 18 , Aug 10, 2011
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Hi Jackie,
                            Thanks for putting up such detailed information – I admire your tenacity and the consistent forward progress in your research.

                            I'd like to throw my three cents into this discussion.

                            To quote the last line in your previous post: The organic, informal, and spontaneous nature of CoPs challenges organizations that want to nurture CoPs because these are resistant to supervision and managerial intervention (Wenger & Snyder, 2004).

                            For me, this leads to the conclusion that CoPs (as passion-based movements) can not work in typical organizational contexts because 'supervision and managerial intervention' are by definition part of the consciously imposed governance structure of organizations.

                            I have yet to see an organization with enough tolerance for 'risk' to nurture autonomous bubbles within its own structure wherein members can pursue passion-based work without interference. If anyone has any good examples that contradict this, I would love to be corrected on this point.

                            I am in general agreement Fred, who in an earlier post in this thread wrote: If you're looking for a "governance" mechanism in relation to a CoP, then I submit to you that you (or your sponsor or boss or whomever) isn't really interested in a real CoP.

                            I am also in general agreement with Pete, who in an earlier post in this thread wrote: CoPs don't exist, only the coherent social groups we distinguish by drawing boundaries around them.

                            I say 'in general agreement' because this holds true only if we choose to qualify CoPs as passion-based and only if we examine them within organizational contexts.

                            I think the passion-based CoP model can work well within self-organizing social justice movements, for example.

                            I also think that if we choose to extract the 'passion-based' qualifier from the CoP definition, then the organization itself functions as a CoP -- where, to use your terms: social expressions, structure, and dynamics set the norms for discussion and action.

                            That said, I too would like to thank Andrew for kicking off this discussion -- which has motivated responses from some of us who haven't posted here for a long while -- because it reveals this space within which we are discussing to be a non-organizational, passion-based CoP that functions well without a governance structure.

                            Thanks,
                            Asif


                            From: Jacqueline Saldana <jacquelineb.saldana@...>
                            To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 12:16 PM
                            Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP

                             
                            Hello John,

                            I see that other colleagues have more experience and strong opinions about the concept of CoPs. What I can share with you about the governance structure of professional CoPs is the following:

                            I worked for three years as project manager for 20 CoPs in the field of pharmaceutical engineering. Some of these CoPs have existed for 10 years or more, whereas others are younger and other emerged during my work with this organization. In this professional association the oldest CoP is the Investigational Products CoP and is a community of clinical trial scientists expanded today to North America, Europe, and Japan. The youngest one works with oral solid dosages. I decided to study CoPs as part of my doctoral dissertation. To choose my study variables, I conducted an in-depth preliminary research that included interviews with the CoPs champions (e.g., sponsors, facilitators) and review of archival documentation (e.g., meeting minutes, chat discussions, online postings). I basically wrote the story and development of each of the 20 CoPs and believe me you when I say these groups develop different “forms” of governance structures. My work stays with these CoPs, as I provided them in gratitude with complete reports used today for different purposes, from brochures to Website content.

                            The second part of my study encompassed a systematic literature review of 186 scientific studies with the following criteria, (a) professional CoPs, (b) studies conducted from 2000 to 2011, (c) studies that manifested clearly a scientific design and results. These studies covered more than 20 professional disciplines in more than 18 countries. I quantified CoP social expressions, including governance structure characteristics. From my observations, personal experience, recording of CoP chat rooms, and results from a scientific literature review, I can share with you the following findings in regards to CoPs governance structure:

                                 1. A great controversy surfaces regarding the topic of CoP governance structures. CoPs are a type of “invisible college,” in which people meet to solve problems related to a common topic, field, or passion. The idea of an intentional structure is uncommon, although most professional CoPs end developing some type of structure.

                                 2. Professional CoPs are no different from civic or community groups of practitioners trying to advance a field or philosophy. CoPs in churches, art institutes, and multinational companies demonstrate similar challenges and social dynamics.

                                 3. CoPs’ governance structures have different composition, from cellular committees to complex networks of subject matter experts. It all depends on the evolution of these CoPs and inherent characteristics of the profession. For example, some CoPs rely heavily in mentoring as succession planning mechanism. Others have a big amount of professionals coming and going under the umbrella of expert committees in charge of developing projects. Is unpredictable to know how a governance structure (loose or tight) will emerge from these groups. Is not after they emerge than we can (maybe) suggest organizational and leadership patterns.

                                 4. Most CoPs manifest that they struggle with the idea of establishing a governance structure and sustaining “loose” groups of individuals creating freely while maintaining organizational order. Most CoPs develop with time communication patterns that get embedded in the social structure of that specific CoP. CoPs can mature in time and develop intrinsic characteristics, although the moment when a CoP can disappear is unpredictable.

                                 5. Passion for a discipline, common sense of purpose, and community identity continue to be the “glue” that attaches and make CoPs prosper. Experts in the field of CoP recommend adding “goals” to this mix, although this can be dangerous because goals must come from within the interest of the CoP members. I have seen established CoPs rebel against goals and plans they believe are being imposed to the group with negative consequences for CoP sustainability. The only way you can promote commitment and action from CoP participants in when membership has true loyalty to a cause.  CoP identity plays a fundamental role in developing CoPs culture and organized efforts.

                            Although I began my doctoral dissertation believing I would study governance structure and succession planning, my research has moved me to study communication expressions and the relationship of these dynamics with innovation. I am in the process now of conducting a third phase of my research which is a quasi-experimental study comparing the social expressions, structure, and dynamics of three different life-cycle stages CoP (i.e., beginner, intermediate, advanced) to measure specific variables that I identified from the qualitative methods of observation and the systematic literature review. As part of a meta-analysis, variables received a statistical variance value; and now I am using these measurements to design a quantitative analysis to prove previous findings.

                            I have also talked with CoP sponsors in civic groups and private organizations to understand better this phenomenon. I am personally beginning a CoP movement in my own place of meditation which is Silent Unity of Tampa. I am still exploring alternatives but knowing my church involvement in the past, the establishment of an expert panel will be a solid beginning. A good deal of education will take part in this effort by knowing what moves a group of people, element that we all know is always the best start.

                            My best advice is: You cannot force a governance structure; this emerges throughout the development of the CoP. This happens when you provide a good platform for collective work (including IT), propitiate the opportunities for collaboration, identify strong champions, propose a preliminary set of goals, and identify individuals who share a passion for a topic/field/philosophy. The rest is the creative process for which the CoP grows and evolves.

                            I hope these simple observations help you in your efforts, either by confirming intuition of adding to the body of knowledge.

                            Respectfully yours,

                            Jackie


                            --- On Tue, 8/9/11, John David Smith <john.smith@...> wrote:

                            From: John David Smith <john.smith@...>
                            Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                            To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                            Date: Tuesday, August 9, 2011, 7:58 PM

                             
                            Jackie,
                             
                            It would be interesting to hear more about your dissertation and hear more about what the contexts for your observations were.
                             
                            John
                            * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd
                            * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net
                            * Got ilk?
                             
                            From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jacqueline Saldana
                            Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2011 12:51 AM
                            To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                             
                             
                            Hello Guys,
                             
                            I have been seen your communication thread and could not avoid to provide you with some insights about CoPs’ governance models. I have worked and studied extensively CoPs as part of my doctoral dissertation. Reality is the concept of CoP is today a strategy organizations use intentionally to spread knowledge and innovation. In my experience managing CoPs, the best governance structure is the one that emerges from within the membership. It is important to remember that shared leadership is a main characteristic of the CoP culture. Be also ready to deal with the 20/80 rule. Only 10% to 20% of community members produce concrete outcomes whereas from 90% to 80% of the membership are “passive consumers.” Engaging peripheral groups is a continual challenge to the majority of established CoPs. Creating a committee of volunteers willing to “champion” the community is a good start but the organization must let the CoP drive itself and this include building a network of collaborations that develop character, professional identify, and working methods. I have seen CoPs developed wonderful professional cultures, all different from each other in governance structure but all successful in performance because the working culture is based on inherent characteristics of a profession. 
                             
                            Please, see the excerpt below which confirms findings from emergent CoP theory. I am not including the list references, but this list is available if your have further interest.
                             
                            Today CoPs’ structures vary ranging from voluntary informal networks to globally dispersed project teams (Li, Grimshaw, Nielsen, Judd, et al., 2009). Professional CoPs usually do not develop mechanisms and protocols. CoPs are not formal departments, operational teams, or business units. Although all these structures share some characteristics, the CoP is the only group in which members are self-selected based on expertise or passion for a topic which evolves organically as long as members find value in their common interest. Some organizations take intentional steps to legitimize and support CoPs, which results in the institutionalization of communities forced to defend their jurisdictions and group identify (Ferlie, Fitzgerald, Wood, & Hawkins, 2005). Institutionalization (Wenger, McDermott, & Snyder, 2002) happens as result of organizations trying to align their objectives to the goals of groups of practitioners. The process of institutionalization is a delicate process structurally and culturally because requires the introduction of formal guidelines to legitimize CoPs and their roles as custodians of knowledge within informal associations.
                                        Koliba and Gajda (2009) identified degree of formalization as one research variable to consider as the theory of CoP evolves. Professional CoPs today manifest different degrees of formalization relatively to their role and use within professional organizations. Wenger (et al.) explained that the focus of successful CoPs in professional organizations should be to institutionalize CoPs to integrate their overall function to the organization. Organizations should promote only guidelines to elicit genuine passion for knowledge sharing, enabling them to safeguard knowledge for both professional and organizational benefits. The organic, informal, and spontaneous nature of CoPs challenges organizations that want to nurture CoPs because these are resistant to supervision and managerial intervention (Wenger & Snyder, 2004).
                             
                            Respectfully,
                             
                            Jackie Saldana
                                         


                            --- On Tue, 8/9/11, John David Smith <john.smith@...> wrote:

                            From: John David Smith <john.smith@...>
                            Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                            To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                            Date: Tuesday, August 9, 2011, 4:25 AM
                             
                            But Fred, wouldn’t you agree that around a community of practice there may need to be a governance mechanism?  If a community requires resources or produces artifacts of some sort, it may need to have some way of taking care of them: when the midwives were learning in the Yucatan many years ago, this wasn’t an issue but in this day and age, resources (including platforms like yahoogroups) usually have owners and legal mechanisms.  Whether we like it or not.
                             
                            In CPsquare we’ve just been doing a marathon look at various non-secular communities of practice.  It depends what scale you look at, but some of these communities are very long lived.  Like thousands of years.  Josh Plaskoff and Estee Solomon Gray argued that the social structures and mechanisms in Judaism corresponded exactly to the theories we use to think about communities of practice, so they were saying: they are one and the same.  And within Judaism there are organizations galore.  And within some of those organizations they are supporting many communities of practice, with all the risks that “support” entails.  So no hard & fast answers, in my opinion.
                             
                            I’ve become convinced that even though Wenger, McDermott & Snyder tried to be very clear that what they were talking about was not necessarily a corporate phenomenon, the conversation as been largely organization-oriented (and secular).  There is much to be learned about how communities function, propagate themselves, and coexist with organizations from looking at religious and spiritual examples.
                             
                            Lest we go meta, too fast and irreversibly, I would ask Andrew whether he can find any examples that are working (however imperfectly) in his vicinity.   I think we see that communities of practice are very hardy and can exist in a lot of different settings (although every setting will influence behavior and, possibly, success).
                             
                            John
                            * John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter: smithjd
                            * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net
                            * Got ilk?
                             
                            From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Fred Nickols
                            Sent: Monday, August 08, 2011 4:10 PM
                            To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                             
                             
                            G'day, Andrew. I assume you're an Aussie because my Kiwi friends tell me they don't use that greeting.

                            I don't think you'll like my response to your inquiry but I'll send it along anyway.

                            If you're looking for a "governance" mechanism in relation to a CoP, then I submit to you that you (or your sponsor or boss or whomever) isn't really interested in a real CoP. CoPs are "communities of practice" and they are not governed and especially not by any outside agency.

                            So I ask you in return, what kind of group are you trying to establish that requires a "governance mechanism"?

                            Fred Nickols

                            --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, "Andrew Mahar" <andrew@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > G'day,
                            >
                            > I am working on assisting in the establishment of a CoP looking at making more efficient and effective use of technology in community service organisations.
                            >
                            > I am looking for any governance model and advice that people may have that may assist me.
                            >
                            > best wishes
                            >
                            > andrew
                            >


                          • Marco Bettoni
                            Hi Jackie, your findings about governance structure look very interesting to me, thanks a lot. Were the 20 CoPs in the field of pharmaceutical engineering a
                            Message 13 of 18 , Aug 13, 2011
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Hi Jackie,

                              your findings about governance structure look very interesting to me,
                              thanks a lot.

                              Were the 20 CoPs in the field of pharmaceutical engineering a part of
                              the ISPE?

                              You mention in your finding #1 that "the idea of an intentional
                              structure is uncommon": in my experience with a few CoPs that I have
                              been involved in (as designer and initial coordinator) this "uncommon"
                              related to the new way of working (formal organisation of work) that a
                              CoP requires; it is a different way than that required by the company (a
                              hierarchical organisation) of which the CoP (a network organisation) is
                              a part and to accept, to practice and to further develop this new way of
                              working is not easy for CoP members.

                              Cheers,
                              Marco

                              --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, Jacqueline Saldana
                              <jacquelineb.saldana@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Hello John,
                              >
                              > I see that other colleagues have more
                              > experience and strong opinions about the concept of CoPs. What I can
                              share with
                              > you about the governance structure of professional CoPs is the
                              following:
                              >
                              > I worked for three years as project manager for
                              > 20 CoPs in the field of pharmaceutical engineering. Some of these CoPs
                              have
                              > existed for 10 years or more, whereas others are younger and other
                              emerged
                              > during my work with this organization. In this professional
                              association the oldest
                              > CoP is the Investigational Products CoP and is a community of clinical
                              trial
                              > scientists expanded today to North America, Europe, and Japan. The
                              youngest one works with oral solid dosages. I decided to study
                              > CoPs as part of my doctoral dissertation. To choose my study
                              variables, I
                              > conducted an in-depth preliminary research that included interviews
                              with the
                              > CoPs champions (e.g., sponsors, facilitators) and review of archival
                              > documentation (e.g., meeting minutes, chat discussions, online
                              postings). I
                              > basically wrote the story and development of each of the 20 CoPs and
                              believe me
                              > you when I say these groups develop different “forms” of
                              governance structures.
                              > My work stays with these CoPs, as I provided them in gratitude with
                              complete
                              > reports used today for different purposes, from brochures to Website
                              content.
                              >
                              >
                              > The second part of my study encompassed a systematic
                              > literature review of 186 scientific studies with the following
                              criteria, (a)
                              > professional CoPs, (b) studies conducted from 2000 to 2011, (c)
                              studies that
                              > manifested clearly a scientific design and results. These studies
                              covered more
                              > than 20 professional disciplines in more than 18 countries. I
                              quantified CoP
                              > social expressions, including governance structure characteristics.
                              From my
                              > observations, personal experience, recording of CoP chat rooms, and
                              results
                              > from a scientific literature review, I can share with you the
                              following findings
                              > in regards to CoPs governance structure:
                              >
                              >
                              > 1. A
                              > great controversy surfaces regarding the topic of CoP governance
                              structures.
                              > CoPs are a type of “invisible college,” in which people
                              meet to solve problems
                              > related to a common topic, field, or passion. The idea of an
                              intentional
                              > structure is uncommon, although most professional CoPs end developing
                              some type
                              > of structure.
                              >
                              >
                              > 2.
                              > Professional CoPs are no different from civic or community groups of
                              > practitioners trying to advance a field or philosophy. CoPs in
                              churches, art
                              > institutes, and multinational companies demonstrate similar challenges
                              and
                              > social dynamics.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > 3.
                              > CoPs’ governance structures have different composition, from
                              cellular
                              > committees to complex networks of subject matter experts. It all
                              depends on the
                              > evolution of these CoPs and inherent characteristics of the
                              profession. For example,
                              > some CoPs rely heavily in mentoring as succession planning mechanism.
                              Others
                              > have a big amount of professionals coming and going under the umbrella
                              of
                              > expert committees in charge of developing projects. Is unpredictable
                              to know
                              > how a governance structure (loose or tight) will emerge from these
                              groups. Is
                              > not after they emerge than we can (maybe) suggest organizational and
                              leadership
                              > patterns.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > 4.
                              > Most CoPs manifest that they struggle with the idea of establishing a
                              > governance structure and sustaining “loose” groups of
                              individuals creating
                              > freely while maintaining organizational order. Most CoPs develop with
                              time
                              > communication patterns that get embedded in the social structure of
                              that
                              > specific CoP. CoPs can mature in time and develop intrinsic
                              characteristics,
                              > although the moment when a CoP can disappear is unpredictable.
                              >
                              >
                              > 5.
                              > Passion for a discipline, common sense of purpose, and community
                              identity
                              > continue to be the “glue” that attaches and make CoPs
                              prosper. Experts in the
                              > field of CoP recommend adding “goals” to this mix,
                              although this can be dangerous
                              > because goals must come from within the interest of the CoP members. I
                              have seen established CoPs rebel against goals and plans they believe
                              are being imposed to the group with negative consequences for CoP
                              sustainability. The only
                              > way you can promote commitment and action from CoP participants in
                              when
                              > membership has true loyalty to a cause. CoP
                              > identity plays a fundamental role in developing CoPs culture and
                              organized
                              > efforts.
                              >
                              >
                              > Although I began my doctoral dissertation
                              > believing I would study governance structure and succession planning,
                              my
                              > research has moved me to study communication expressions and the
                              relationship
                              > of these dynamics with innovation. I am in the process now of
                              conducting a
                              > third phase of my research which is a quasi-experimental study
                              comparing the
                              > social expressions, structure, and dynamics of three different
                              life-cycle
                              > stages CoP (i.e., beginner, intermediate, advanced) to measure
                              specific
                              > variables that I identified from the qualitative methods of
                              observation and the
                              > systematic literature review. As part of a meta-analysis, variables
                              received a statistical
                              > variance value; and now I am using these measurements to design a
                              quantitative
                              > analysis to prove previous findings.
                              >
                              >
                              > I have also talked with CoP sponsors in civic groups
                              > and private organizations to understand better this phenomenon. I am
                              personally
                              > beginning a CoP movement in my own place of meditation which is Silent
                              Unity of
                              > Tampa. I am still exploring alternatives but knowing my church
                              involvement in
                              > the past, the establishment of an expert panel will be a solid
                              beginning. A
                              > good deal of education will take part in this effort by knowing what
                              moves a
                              > group of people, element that we all know is always the best start.
                              >
                              > My best advice is: You cannot
                              > force a governance structure; this emerges throughout the development
                              of the
                              > CoP. This happens when you provide a good platform for collective work
                              > (including IT), propitiate the opportunities for collaboration,
                              identify strong
                              > champions, propose a preliminary set of goals, and identify
                              individuals who share
                              > a passion for a topic/field/philosophy. The rest is the creative
                              process for
                              > which the CoP grows and evolves.
                              >
                              >
                              > I hope these simple observations help you in your efforts, either by
                              confirming intuition of adding to the body of knowledge.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Respectfully yours,
                              >
                              >
                              > Jackie
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > --- On Tue, 8/9/11, John David Smith john.smith@... wrote:
                              >
                              > From: John David Smith john.smith@...
                              > Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                              > To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                              > Date: Tuesday, August 9, 2011, 7:58 PM
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Jackie, It would be interesting to hear more about your
                              dissertation and hear more about what the contexts for your observations
                              were. John* John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter:
                              smithjd* Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net*

                              Got ilk? From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                              [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jacqueline Saldana

                              > Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2011 12:51 AM
                              > To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                              > Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP Hello Guys, I have
                              been seen your communication thread and could not avoid to provide you
                              with some insights about CoPs’ governance models. I have worked
                              and studied extensively CoPs as part of my doctoral dissertation.
                              Reality is the concept of CoP is today a strategy organizations use
                              intentionally to spread knowledge and innovation. In my experience
                              managing CoPs, the best governance structure is the one that emerges
                              from within the membership. It is important to remember that shared
                              leadership is a main characteristic of the CoP culture. Be also ready to
                              deal with the 20/80 rule. Only 10% to 20% of community members produce
                              concrete outcomes whereas from 90% to 80% of the membership are
                              “passive consumers.” Engaging peripheral groups is a
                              continual challenge to the majority of established CoPs. Creating a
                              committee of volunteers willing to “champion” the
                              community is a good start but
                              > the organization must let the CoP drive itself and this include
                              building a network of collaborations that develop character,
                              professional identify, and working methods. I have seen CoPs developed
                              wonderful professional cultures, all different from each other in
                              governance structure but all successful in performance because the
                              working culture is based on inherent characteristics of a profession.
                              Please, see the excerpt below which confirms findings from emergent CoP
                              theory. I am not including the list references, but this list is
                              available if your have further interest. Today CoPs’ structures
                              vary ranging from voluntary informal networks to globally dispersed
                              project teams (Li, Grimshaw, Nielsen, Judd, et al., 2009). Professional
                              CoPs usually do not develop mechanisms and protocols. CoPs are not
                              formal departments, operational teams, or business units. Although all
                              these structures share some characteristics, the CoP is the only group
                              in which
                              > members are self-selected based on expertise or passion for a topic
                              which evolves organically as long as members find value in their common
                              interest. Some organizations take intentional steps to legitimize and
                              support CoPs, which results in the institutionalization of communities
                              forced to defend their jurisdictions and group identify (Ferlie,
                              Fitzgerald, Wood, & Hawkins, 2005). Institutionalization (Wenger,
                              McDermott, & Snyder, 2002) happens as result of organizations trying to
                              align their objectives to the goals of groups of practitioners. The
                              process of institutionalization is a delicate process structurally and
                              culturally because requires the introduction of formal guidelines to
                              legitimize CoPs and their roles as custodians of knowledge within
                              informal associations. Koliba and Gajda (2009) identified
                              degree of formalization as one research variable to consider as the
                              theory of CoP evolves. Professional CoPs today manifest
                              > different degrees of formalization relatively to their role and use
                              within professional organizations. Wenger (et al.) explained that the
                              focus of successful CoPs in professional organizations should be to
                              institutionalize CoPs to integrate their overall function to the
                              organization. Organizations should promote only guidelines to elicit
                              genuine passion for knowledge sharing, enabling them to safeguard
                              knowledge for both professional and organizational benefits. The
                              organic, informal, and spontaneous nature of CoPs challenges
                              organizations that want to nurture CoPs because these are resistant to
                              supervision and managerial intervention (Wenger & Snyder, 2004).
                              Respectfully, Jackie Saldana
                              >
                            • Jacqueline Saldana
                              Hi Marco, It took me a long time returning to you! My apologies for that:). To answer your questions. First: Yes, these COPs are part of ISPE. Second: Also
                              Message 14 of 18 , Sep 2, 2011
                              • 0 Attachment
                                Hi Marco,

                                It took me a long time returning to you! My apologies for that:).

                                To answer your questions.

                                First: Yes, these COPs are part of ISPE.

                                Second: Also yes. CoPs evolve organically and, when these reach a level of maturity (let us say CoPs operating for several consecutive years) they develop inherent working methods that can evolve with time as the group of practitioners is continually negotiating practice. Interesting to study further on the road will be to measure the effect of disruptive technology to mature CoPs but the theory of CoPs is still incipient. The majority of the studies are of qualitative nature which is the way to generate theory. Quantitative efforts are necessary now to confirm these initial observations.

                                Namaste,

                                Jackie


                                --- On Sat, 8/13/11, Marco Bettoni <marco.bettoni@...> wrote:

                                From: Marco Bettoni <marco.bettoni@...>
                                Subject: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                                To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                                Date: Saturday, August 13, 2011, 9:17 AM

                                 

                                Hi Jackie,

                                your findings about governance structure look very interesting to me,
                                thanks a lot.

                                Were the 20 CoPs in the field of pharmaceutical engineering a part of
                                the ISPE?

                                You mention in your finding #1 that "the idea of an intentional
                                structure is uncommon": in my experience with a few CoPs that I have
                                been involved in (as designer and initial coordinator) this "uncommon"
                                related to the new way of working (formal organisation of work) that a
                                CoP requires; it is a different way than that required by the company (a
                                hierarchical organisation) of which the CoP (a network organisation) is
                                a part and to accept, to practice and to further develop this new way of
                                working is not easy for CoP members.

                                Cheers,
                                Marco

                                --- In com-prac@yahoogroups.com, Jacqueline Saldana
                                <jacquelineb.saldana@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Hello John,
                                >
                                > I see that other colleagues have more
                                > experience and strong opinions about the concept of CoPs. What I can
                                share with
                                > you about the governance structure of professional CoPs is the
                                following:
                                >
                                > I worked for three years as project manager for
                                > 20 CoPs in the field of pharmaceutical engineering. Some of these CoPs
                                have
                                > existed for 10 years or more, whereas others are younger and other
                                emerged
                                > during my work with this organization. In this professional
                                association the oldest
                                > CoP is the Investigational Products CoP and is a community of clinical
                                trial
                                > scientists expanded today to North America, Europe, and Japan. The
                                youngest one works with oral solid dosages. I decided to study
                                > CoPs as part of my doctoral dissertation. To choose my study
                                variables, I
                                > conducted an in-depth preliminary research that included interviews
                                with the
                                > CoPs champions (e.g., sponsors, facilitators) and review of archival
                                > documentation (e.g., meeting minutes, chat discussions, online
                                postings). I
                                > basically wrote the story and development of each of the 20 CoPs and
                                believe me
                                > you when I say these groups develop different “forms” of
                                governance structures.
                                > My work stays with these CoPs, as I provided them in gratitude with
                                complete
                                > reports used today for different purposes, from brochures to Website
                                content.
                                >
                                >
                                > The second part of my study encompassed a systematic
                                > literature review of 186 scientific studies with the following
                                criteria, (a)
                                > professional CoPs, (b) studies conducted from 2000 to 2011, (c)
                                studies that
                                > manifested clearly a scientific design and results. These studies
                                covered more
                                > than 20 professional disciplines in more than 18 countries. I
                                quantified CoP
                                > social expressions, including governance structure characteristics.
                                From my
                                > observations, personal experience, recording of CoP chat rooms, and
                                results
                                > from a scientific literature review, I can share with you the
                                following findings
                                > in regards to CoPs governance structure:
                                >
                                >
                                > 1. A
                                > great controversy surfaces regarding the topic of CoP governance
                                structures.
                                > CoPs are a type of “invisible college,” in which people
                                meet to solve problems
                                > related to a common topic, field, or passion. The idea of an
                                intentional
                                > structure is uncommon, although most professional CoPs end developing
                                some type
                                > of structure.
                                >
                                >
                                > 2.
                                > Professional CoPs are no different from civic or community groups of
                                > practitioners trying to advance a field or philosophy. CoPs in
                                churches, art
                                > institutes, and multinational companies demonstrate similar challenges
                                and
                                > social dynamics.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > 3.
                                > CoPs’ governance structures have different composition, from
                                cellular
                                > committees to complex networks of subject matter experts. It all
                                depends on the
                                > evolution of these CoPs and inherent characteristics of the
                                profession. For example,
                                > some CoPs rely heavily in mentoring as succession planning mechanism.
                                Others
                                > have a big amount of professionals coming and going under the umbrella
                                of
                                > expert committees in charge of developing projects. Is unpredictable
                                to know
                                > how a governance structure (loose or tight) will emerge from these
                                groups. Is
                                > not after they emerge than we can (maybe) suggest organizational and
                                leadership
                                > patterns.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > 4.
                                > Most CoPs manifest that they struggle with the idea of establishing a
                                > governance structure and sustaining “loose” groups of
                                individuals creating
                                > freely while maintaining organizational order. Most CoPs develop with
                                time
                                > communication patterns that get embedded in the social structure of
                                that
                                > specific CoP. CoPs can mature in time and develop intrinsic
                                characteristics,
                                > although the moment when a CoP can disappear is unpredictable.
                                >
                                >
                                > 5.
                                > Passion for a discipline, common sense of purpose, and community
                                identity
                                > continue to be the “glue” that attaches and make CoPs
                                prosper. Experts in the
                                > field of CoP recommend adding “goals” to this mix,
                                although this can be dangerous
                                > because goals must come from within the interest of the CoP members. I
                                have seen established CoPs rebel against goals and plans they believe
                                are being imposed to the group with negative consequences for CoP
                                sustainability. The only
                                > way you can promote commitment and action from CoP participants in
                                when
                                > membership has true loyalty to a cause. CoP
                                > identity plays a fundamental role in developing CoPs culture and
                                organized
                                > efforts.
                                >
                                >
                                > Although I began my doctoral dissertation
                                > believing I would study governance structure and succession planning,
                                my
                                > research has moved me to study communication expressions and the
                                relationship
                                > of these dynamics with innovation. I am in the process now of
                                conducting a
                                > third phase of my research which is a quasi-experimental study
                                comparing the
                                > social expressions, structure, and dynamics of three different
                                life-cycle
                                > stages CoP (i.e., beginner, intermediate, advanced) to measure
                                specific
                                > variables that I identified from the qualitative methods of
                                observation and the
                                > systematic literature review. As part of a meta-analysis, variables
                                received a statistical
                                > variance value; and now I am using these measurements to design a
                                quantitative
                                > analysis to prove previous findings.
                                >
                                >
                                > I have also talked with CoP sponsors in civic groups
                                > and private organizations to understand better this phenomenon. I am
                                personally
                                > beginning a CoP movement in my own place of meditation which is Silent
                                Unity of
                                > Tampa. I am still exploring alternatives but knowing my church
                                involvement in
                                > the past, the establishment of an expert panel will be a solid
                                beginning. A
                                > good deal of education will take part in this effort by knowing what
                                moves a
                                > group of people, element that we all know is always the best start.
                                >
                                > My best advice is: You cannot
                                > force a governance structure; this emerges throughout the development
                                of the
                                > CoP. This happens when you provide a good platform for collective work
                                > (including IT), propitiate the opportunities for collaboration,
                                identify strong
                                > champions, propose a preliminary set of goals, and identify
                                individuals who share
                                > a passion for a topic/field/philosophy. The rest is the creative
                                process for
                                > which the CoP grows and evolves.
                                >
                                >
                                > I hope these simple observations help you in your efforts, either by
                                confirming intuition of adding to the body of knowledge.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > Respectfully yours,
                                >
                                >
                                > Jackie
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > --- On Tue, 8/9/11, John David Smith john.smith@... wrote:
                                >
                                > From: John David Smith john.smith@...
                                > Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP
                                > To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                                > Date: Tuesday, August 9, 2011, 7:58 PM
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > Jackie, It would be interesting to hear more about your
                                dissertation and hear more about what the contexts for your observations
                                were. John* John David Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype & Twitter:
                                smithjd* Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net*

                                Got ilk? From: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                                [mailto:com-prac@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jacqueline Saldana

                                > Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2011 12:51 AM
                                > To: com-prac@yahoogroups.com
                                > Subject: RE: [cp] Re: Governance model for a CoP Hello Guys, I have
                                been seen your communication thread and could not avoid to provide you
                                with some insights about CoPs’ governance models. I have worked
                                and studied extensively CoPs as part of my doctoral dissertation.
                                Reality is the concept of CoP is today a strategy organizations use
                                intentionally to spread knowledge and innovation. In my experience
                                managing CoPs, the best governance structure is the one that emerges
                                from within the membership. It is important to remember that shared
                                leadership is a main characteristic of the CoP culture. Be also ready to
                                deal with the 20/80 rule. Only 10% to 20% of community members produce
                                concrete outcomes whereas from 90% to 80% of the membership are
                                “passive consumers.” Engaging peripheral groups is a
                                continual challenge to the majority of established CoPs. Creating a
                                committee of volunteers willing to “champion” the
                                community is a good start but
                                > the organization must let the CoP drive itself and this include
                                building a network of collaborations that develop character,
                                professional identify, and working methods. I have seen CoPs developed
                                wonderful professional cultures, all different from each other in
                                governance structure but all successful in performance because the
                                working culture is based on inherent characteristics of a profession.
                                Please, see the excerpt below which confirms findings from emergent CoP
                                theory. I am not including the list references, but this list is
                                available if your have further interest. Today CoPs’ structures
                                vary ranging from voluntary informal networks to globally dispersed
                                project teams (Li, Grimshaw, Nielsen, Judd, et al., 2009). Professional
                                CoPs usually do not develop mechanisms and protocols. CoPs are not
                                formal departments, operational teams, or business units. Although all
                                these structures share some characteristics, the CoP is the only group
                                in which
                                > members are self-selected based on expertise or passion for a topic
                                which evolves organically as long as members find value in their common
                                interest. Some organizations take intentional steps to legitimize and
                                support CoPs, which results in the institutionalization of communities
                                forced to defend their jurisdictions and group identify (Ferlie,
                                Fitzgerald, Wood, & Hawkins, 2005). Institutionalization (Wenger,
                                McDermott, & Snyder, 2002) happens as result of organizations trying to
                                align their objectives to the goals of groups of practitioners. The
                                process of institutionalization is a delicate process structurally and
                                culturally because requires the introduction of formal guidelines to
                                legitimize CoPs and their roles as custodians of knowledge within
                                informal associations. Koliba and Gajda (2009) identified
                                degree of formalization as one research variable to consider as the
                                theory of CoP evolves. Professional CoPs today manifest
                                > different degrees of formalization relatively to their role and use
                                within professional organizations. Wenger (et al.) explained that the
                                focus of successful CoPs in professional organizations should be to
                                institutionalize CoPs to integrate their overall function to the
                                organization. Organizations should promote only guidelines to elicit
                                genuine passion for knowledge sharing, enabling them to safeguard
                                knowledge for both professional and organizational benefits. The
                                organic, informal, and spontaneous nature of CoPs challenges
                                organizations that want to nurture CoPs because these are resistant to
                                supervision and managerial intervention (Wenger & Snyder, 2004).
                                Respectfully, Jackie Saldana
                                >

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