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

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  • 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 1 of 18 , Aug 9, 2011
      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 2 of 18 , Aug 9, 2011
        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 3 of 18 , Aug 9, 2011

          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 4 of 18 , Aug 9, 2011
            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 5 of 18 , Aug 9, 2011
              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 6 of 18 , Aug 9, 2011

                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 7 of 18 , Aug 10, 2011
                  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 8 of 18 , Aug 10, 2011

                    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 9 of 18 , Aug 10, 2011
                      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 10 of 18 , Aug 13, 2011
                        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 11 of 18 , Sep 2, 2011
                          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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