Facilitating a knowledge network: the role of communities of practice
Today, sophisticated consumers drive an organization's market share. They demand timely innovation and challenge an organization's capacity to manage its competencies. Communities of Practice (CoPs) harvest and disperse the competencies and innovative synergy that reside in an organization's knowledge reservoirs. The theory of CoPs as a knowledge network requires quantitative measurement to enhance its effectiveness and sustainability. This research seeks to validate this knowledge generating mechanism by first, examining a CoP through a functional decomposition process model (IDEF0-Integration Definition for Function Modeling). Second, by developing a "Cultivate a CoP" assessment scale and finally, validating the scale of "Cultivate a CoP". This is an exploratory pilot study with a first attempt to quantify the CoP. The "Cultivating a CoP" scale is a Likert 5-point six-dimension survey that assesses the validity and reliability of the CoP scale. The results demonstrates four (4) of the six (6) constructs have significant internal reliability at p = .05. The significant constructs with rank of reliability strength are Convey domain, Align vision, Share expertise and Grow trust while Motivate participants and Build artifacts did not demonstrate internal reliability. The six dimensionality of the scale is challenged with significant correlation between Align vision with Build artifacts and Convey domain. The quantitative metaphor for the CoP theory that seeks to validate "Cultivate a CoP" scale enhances the understanding of abstract inter-relationships among the constructs (latent attributes). The resulting correlations through factor analysis will justify and enhance a CoP's sustainability. A healthy and sustainable CoP improves problem-solving synergy because of an increased capability for change management and knowledge production.
Thesis (M.S.)--Wichita State University, College of Engineering, Dept. of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering.