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The presentation slides for my thesis defence. Subject was Inter-organizational community of practice.

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  • Dutch: Het nieuwewerken adopting innovative ICT solutions altering organizational structures changing the workplace itself change leading practices to facilitate the knowledge worker optimally in his or her daily work.
  • Ultimately, this leads to the construction of a new method. This method consists of phases, groups of actors, activities. It can be used to facilitate the development of an inter-organizational community of practice.
  • TrustTrust is a measure of belief in the ability, benevolence and integrity of others. In an inter-organizational setting, trust may seem to exist between organizations. However, organizations as an entity cannot trust each othersince they cannot have attitudes. That is why trust in an inter-organizational setting is often noted as trust between individuals from two or more organizations. three factors of trust (Mayer et al., 1995) in their study: ability-based trust, benevolence-based trust and integrity-based trust. They can vary independently from each other.1. Ability is the level of confidence that an organization has in the competences, skills and knowledge of another organization.2. Benevolence is based on the expectation that the other party will not take excessive advantage of others when the opportunity is there. It is therefore the opposite of opportunism.3. Integrity is the perception that the other party adheres to the generally accepted set of norms and principles. It is rooted in the previous experiences and earlier made promises.Member valueIndividuals will only participate in a community of practice if there is something to gain for them. This gain is the value that they perceive in participating.IdentityCommunity identity is the degree in which a member sees himself as part of the community (Grootveld and Helms, 2008). In any community, identity is shaped in a social identification process (Wenger, 1998; Moingeon et al., 2006). This process explains the identification that individuals might feel towards their fellow community members. Identification in a CoP happens through “legitimate peripheral participation” (Lave and Wenger, 1991). This theory argues that newcomers first learn by participating in peripheral activities and later by more central activities that require a higher level of domain expertise. Socialization and learning are tied here.The above also implies that the amount of identity in newly formed communities is lower than in communities that thrive for several years (Grootveld and Helms, 2008). This is why low levels of identity are not that critical in a newly developed community of practice. However, identity should never be underestimated. If there is no common ground to feel connected (McDermott et al., 2002), members will not be motivated to actively participate in community activities and the sharing of knowledge and practices. This is highlighted in what Hoffman and Wulf encountered in their study (Hoffman and Wulf, 2002). Potential community members from different SMEs were very reluctant to share their insights. But when it became clear that they all shared similar problems, they were more easily sharing their knowledge and were giving each other advice.LeadershipThis refers to the different leader roles people may attain in a community. Having strong leadership is a crucial success factor in initiating and sustaining a community (McDermott et al., 2002; Huysman, 2006). Leadership is not the same thing as management support. The latter is about facilitating in terms of structuring, monitoring and funding (Dignum and van Eeden, 2003). Of course, leaders could rely on management support.A community may have one leader or multiple leaders, each in a different role. Community size Small communities may do with one leader. Larger community sizes generate more complex structures, and may need those multiple leaders. Crave and Ladame (2005) prefer to use the term animator instead of leader because of the voluntarism of membership. McDermott et al. (2002) use the term coordinator, since the leader will also be responsible for coordination the various community activities.They state that is has to be someone that challenges the other members. The task is made easier by the credibility and trust he must have enjoyed earlier on from the members to reach the leadership position. The leaders should be recognizable among the members, have good networking capabilities and are motivated to take on the leadership role.Decision making is in particular critical for the success of learning in communities (Mentzas et al., 2006). The opinions of as many members as possible should be taken into account before the actual decision making. The leaders can make use of collaborative media to facilitate this task.Especially when an IO-CoP is set up in its first stages, it needs strong leadership and decision making. Specific management attention might be the better term here. None of the organizations will continue with the initiative if there is no strong decision making. When the community is launched, leadership continues to stay critical (Soekijad et al., 2004). Leading members hailing from various organizations in a community involves additional stakes.McDermott et al. (2002) listed a number of functions for the leader/coordinator. The most important ones are the following. I slightly adapted the list so it does apply to IO-CoPs as well.Media choiceUsabilityThis term has its background in human computer interaction. It is regarded as ensuring that interactive products are easy to learn, effective to use, and enjoyable from the user perspective. Organizational valuesThis is the benefit an organization gains from participating in an IO-CoP. Knowledge is a highly required asset, especially if it leads to innovation (Soekijad et al., 2004). But organizations cannot simply rely on internal knowledge alone. They need to get exposed to external knowledge sources to remain in a competitive environment (Lertpittayapoom et al., 2007). Additionally, organizations seem to be more dependent on each other when they are focusing on their core competences (Soekijad and Andriessen, 2003). Because organizations are becoming more knowledge intensive and dependent on others, an important way for survival is collaboration. Collaboration allows for the acquiring of the needed external knowledge. It manifests itself partnerships and alliances.Inter-organizational knowledge sharing is the critical process for the success of collaboration between partners. The variety of knowledge and experience in an IO-CoP is great, and this increases the learning potential (Moingeon et al., 2006). IO-CoPs are therefore a good vehicle for knowledge sharing.Organizations should be continuously being made aware what the gains are in IO-CoP participation. This must happen through its participating members. If this awareness fades, or even worse if the actual value disappears, the community will lose the respective organization and its accompanying members.Organizational culturesOrganizational culture shapes the assumptions surrounding knowledge sharing, especially which knowledge is valuable and when to share it (Timonen and Ylitalo, 2007). Differences in organizational cultures might have its effects on inter-organizational knowledge sharing. Nieminen (2005) states that there are different dimensions in which this might be happening. How an organization perceives the collaboration as a way of operating oneself is of influence to knowledge sharing. Also of influence is the way knowledge sharing is encouraged in the organization. The use of reward systems plays a supporting role in this. If knowledge sharing is not encouraged within the organization, sharing knowledge across the border will not happen either. But even if internal knowledge sharing is encouraged, external knowledge may still seem to be seen as an evil. If this is the case, knowledge sharing across the border will still not happen (Timonen and Ylitalo, 2007). It can be argued that management’s role is essential in encouraging and coordinating the organizations knowledge sharing efforts.Prior experiencesA factor that influences knowledge sharing on the inter-organizational level is the nature of the relationship between companies (Nieminen, 2005). The current relationship is based on past experiences and has a great impact on later interaction (Mu, Peng and Love, 2008). Current relationships are also forthcoming from the networks in which an organization is embedded.The relationship is explained by the formal opportunities that organizations create to share knowledge with each other (Timonen and Ylitalo, 2007). The informal opportunities rely on personal relationships, which are explained in the people context factor paragraph. Formal opportunities include joint ventures as collaborating in structured work teams and setting up shared training programs. With this, a common mindset is developed for further collaboration, and this includes participating in an IO-CoP together.Knowledge sharing requires a stable relationship (Mentzas et al., 2006). This does mean that an instable relationship as a result of negative experiences in past behavior hampers knowledge sharing in a community. There is also the possibility of organizations having no prior experiences at all. If this is the case, this context factor is of no influence of IO-CoP success with regard to those participating parties.Power balanceThis context factor is about decision making in the community and not about knowledge sharing itself per se. Power in inter-organizational relationships is the extent of influence one party has over the others in terms of influencing decisions that are significant to achieving the joint goals. They can be balanced, where all organizations have the same influence on decision making or unbalanced if one or more organizations have greater influence on decision making than the others (Muthusamy and White, 2005). This power balance is also in effect in the processes of inter-organizational community decision making.If those that wield the greater power are willing to restrain the use of the excessive power over the others and at the same time inviting others for joint decision making, then the relationship is strengthened which in turn will have a positive effect on the community.Reciprocal commitmentThis is the moral obligation that comes with knowledge sharing among organizations. Those who share knowledge are never certain how much they are in debt to each other. Therefore feelings of moral obligation to “repay” are being generated and reinforced (Muthusamy and White, 2005). In an inter-organizational community of practice, this is happening with each contribution towards the community.Reciprocal commitment is seen as a duty to the community and it also forms the basis on which problems are addressed and solved (Muthusamy and White, 2005). It reduces uncertainty among the involved organizations. Therefore, it is significant to knowledge sharing in inter-organizational communities of practice. The community should have a mechanism in place that supports the reinforcement of this reciprocal commitment. If this is not the case, certain organizations might not join the community in the fear that they will give more than they will take (Soekijad et al., 2004). In other words, they feel that they are opportunistically exploited by their peers and generated trust has disappeared (Mu, Peng and Love, 2008).Co-sponsorshipCo-sponsorship is an important factor to get started at all. CoPs are usually seen to support knowledge management initiatives within an organization. But in an inter-organizational setting it is vague who and which organization is going to profit from all the effort, and who will benefit the most. Co-sponsorship will reduce the risks involved. These risks are primarily participating without clear gains. By sharing the costs, the financial burden is reduced for all as well (Soekijad et al., 2004).
  • Ability is the level of confidence in the competences, skills and knowledgeBenevolence is based on the expectation that the other party will not take excessive advantage of others when the opportunity is thereIntegrity is the perception that the other party adheres to the generally accepted set of norms and principles
  • thesis defence

    1. 1. Harm de Muinck<br />September 3, 2009<br />Inter-organizational communities of practice<br />thesis presentation<br />
    2. 2. Agenda<br />Introduction<br />Problem statement<br />Methodology<br />Theory<br />Results<br />Conclusion<br />Questions<br />2<br />
    3. 3. Introduction: Supervision<br />Internship at Microsoft Nederland and Hutspot<br />Supervisors:<br />Remko Helms (1st)<br />HuubPrüst (2nd)<br />Rob Elsinga (Microsoft)<br />Suzanne van Kinderen (Hutspot)<br />3<br />
    4. 4. Introduction: Background<br />4<br />Improve the productivity of the knowledge worker 1<br />Solution: adopting New World of Workvision2<br />Share knowledge and experiences with others around the New World of Work<br />Solution: community of practice (partners and customers)<br />1Rasmus, D. (2005) The New World of Work. Microsoft white paper.<br />2 Bijl, D. (2007) Het nieuwewerken. Sduuitgevers: Den Haag.<br />
    5. 5. Three dimensions: technology, facilities and organization<br />Initial partner group:<br />Entrants after launch: <br />Introduction: Partner initiators<br />5<br />
    6. 6. Problem statement<br />6<br />CoP models : evolution stages 1 and SES model 2<br />Intra-organizational only<br />IO-CoPs:<br />No identification of groups of actors<br />No overview of context factors influencing success<br />No facilitating method available<br />Wenger, E., McDermott, R., Snyder, W. (2002) Cultivating Communities of Practice. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.<br />2 Dignum, V., Eeden, P. van (2003) Seducing, engaging and supporting communities at Achmea. Proceedings of the ECKM, Oxford, UK.<br />
    7. 7. Research questions<br />How can a method be constructed that facilitates the development of an inter-organizational community of practice?<br />Which context factors can influence inter-organizational CoP success?<br />How to create a framework of inter-organizational CoP context factors?<br />Which groups of actors can be identified that are involved in development of an inter-organizational CoP?<br />Which phases, activities and deliverables are relevant to an inter-organizational CoP in order to construct a method?<br />7<br />
    8. 8. Methodology: design science<br />Research Design cycle (adapted from AIS, retrieved Jan. 2, 2009)<br />8<br />
    9. 9. Theory: Communities of Practice<br />9<br />Lave & Wenger (1991): apprenticeship situations 1<br />Also in many other settings 2<br />Definition: <br /> “communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern, problems, or passion about a topic, and deepen their knowledge and expertise in an area by interacting on an ongoing basis”<br />Lave, J., Wenger, E. (1991) Situated learning: legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.<br />Wenger, E., McDermott, R., Snyder, W. (2002) Cultivating Communities of Practice. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.<br />
    10. 10. Theory: Inter-Organizational CoPs<br />10<br />Communities over the organizational border, sharing knowledge with workers from other organizations 1<br />Definition:<br /> “an organizational form having autonomous governance, gathering voluntary individuals from different organizations, with a common professional practice aiming at developing their expertise on an individual basis”<br />Soekijad, M., Huis in ‘t Veld, M.A.A., Enserink, B. (2004) Learning and Knowledge Processes in Inter-Organizational Communities of Practice.<br />Knowledge and Process Management, 11(1), 3-12.<br />Moingeon, B., Quelin, B., Dalsace, F., Lumineau, F. (2006) Inter-Organizational Communities of Practice: Specificities and <br /> Stakes. Les Cahiers de Recherche 857, Groupe HEC.<br />
    11. 11. Theory: CoP context factors<br />11<br />CoP context factor framework<br />Grootveld, A., Helms, R.W. (2008) Development and Application of a Factor Framework to Diagnose Possible Failure in Communities of Practice. Proceedings of the 9th ECKM, 249-256.<br />
    12. 12. Theory: CoP evolution<br />Stages 1<br />Potential<br />Coalescing<br />Maturing<br />Stewardship<br />Transformation<br /><ul><li>SES model2</li></ul>Seduce<br />Engage<br />Support<br />Wenger, E., McDermott, R., Snyder, W. (2002) Cultivating Communities of Practice. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.<br />2 Dignum, V., Eeden, P. van (2003) Seducing, engaging and supporting communities at Achmea. Proceedings of the ECKM, Oxford, UK.<br />12<br />
    13. 13. Development phase<br />13<br />Deliverables:<br />IO-CoP context factor framework<br />IO-CoP method<br />Framework<br />Literature sources<br />Method<br />Participative observations<br />Interview results<br />Literature suggestions<br />
    14. 14. Result: Factor framework<br />14<br />Which context factors can influence IO-CoP success?<br />How to create a framework of IO-CoPsucces?<br />People, Systems, Organizational and Inter-organizational context<br />
    15. 15. People context<br />15<br />
    16. 16. Systems context<br />16<br />
    17. 17. Organizational context<br />17<br />
    18. 18. Inter-Organizational context<br />18<br />
    19. 19. Result: group of actors<br />19<br />Which groups of actors can be identified that are involved in development of an inter-organizational CoP?<br />Answer:<br />1. Initiators<br />2. Stakeholders<br />3. Members<br />4. Leaders<br />5. Developers<br />
    20. 20. Result: IO-CoP method<br />20<br />Method engineering 1<br />Participative observations<br />Interview results<br />Literature suggestions<br />Which phases, activities and deliverables are relevant to an inter-organizational CoP in order to construct a method?<br />Answer: 3 phases. Initiate – Ignite - Sustain<br />Brinkkemper, S. (1996) Method Engineering: engineering of information systems development methods and tools. Information and <br />Software Technology, 38(4), 275-280. <br />
    21. 21. Initiate phase<br />21<br />
    22. 22. Ignite phase<br />22<br />
    23. 23. Sustain phase<br />23<br />
    24. 24. Conclusion<br />24<br />The Initiate-Ignite-Sustain method is a certain approach for IO-CoP development<br />Probably suits other community types as well<br />Research limitations<br />Evaluation (no case development study)<br />Time-path<br />
    25. 25. Questions<br />Any questions..?<br />25<br />