The effect of virtual participation in a community of practice: A study of harnessing knowledge in a virtual world

by Langston, Erin L., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2008, 119 pages; 3320815


The ability to harness an employee's knowledge, by the company they work for, can be of great benefit to the company as a whole. The value of knowledge that employees have and possibly leave with is vastly understated and, if controlled, can be a strategic advantage to a company. When an individual is sought out by a rival firm, it is not because they bring with them physical objects that can be counted as capital. It is the knowledge, processes, and ideas in their head that is of value to the competition. This research was done to add knowledge in the area of knowledge management. This study shows how global companies can share knowledge through a community of like-minded individuals that have the same goals in mind. This qualitative study addresses the research question, “What are the factors that facilitate the effectiveness of virtual members of a community of practice?” A small group of large global companies was used due to their current implementation of a community of practice and their willingness to participate in the study. The information gathered was evaluated and checked for accuracy with the participants of the interviews. The goal of the research study was to determine the effectiveness of a virtual community to both the employer and the employee. The results of the study show that global companies need to harness virtual communities to share knowledge and resources to be competitive. The employer is not the only one that triumphs when communities are effective. The employee's sharing and receiving the knowledge also have greater worth and potential.

AdviserCliff Butler
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Information science
Publication Number3320815

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