Exploring the maturity and development of global communities of practice

Rasmus Jørgensen*, Enrico Scarso, Kathrin Kirchner, Kasper Edwards

*Corresponding author for this work

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Researchers have studied the development of communities of practice (CoPs) and proposed that they can be divided into five stages of maturity: (a) potential, (b) building, (c) engaged, (d) active, and (e) adaptive. However, there is a lack of current case studies exploring CoP development and the link between enablers and maturity stages. This study adds to the CoP field through a case study of an extreme case: 20 global CoPs, developed by an engineering company, which were subjected to the same development initiatives for the past decade. Document analysis and a group interview with key informants form the basis for the study. The findings confirm the validity of the maturity stage model and its usefulness in understanding how a CoP develops over time. The study identifies nine CoP development initiatives at different maturity stages. Four of the initiatives are of particular interest as contemporary contributions to the maturity model of Gongla and Rizzuto (a) competence as practice as a process support enabler in the potential stage; (b) CoP mentoring as a people behaviour enabler in the engaged stage; (c) continuous management dialogue as a people behaviour enabler in the engaged stage; and (d) virtual community support as an enabling technology in the potential stage.

Original languageEnglish
JournalKnowledge and Process Management
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)321-331
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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