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No 857:
Inter-organizational communities of practice: specificities and stakes

Bertrand Moingeon (), Bertrand Quélin (), Frédéric Dalsace () and Fabrice Lumineau ()

Abstract: Inter-organizational communities of practice (IOCoPs) are today an emergent research topic and studies in this area are still in an exploratory phase. Theoretical mechanisms are vaguely specified and empirical studies are incipient. For this reason, this paper firstly aims at presenting the specificities and stakes of such organizational forms, establishing reference points for further research in this field. We will introduce the main features of IOCoPs and explain why they do not represent a mere subcategory of CoPs, but a unit of analysis per se. In this paper, we will follow a thematic approach to indicate IOCoPs’ specificities and stakes. We will thus look at the IOCoPs’ actors (in part I), IOCoPs as original organizational forms (part II), then IOCoPs’ life cycle (part III). Finally, we will synthesize IOCoPs’ distinctive features and conclude with a discussion on key interests of IOCoPs for both practitioners and academics.

Keywords: Community of practice; inter-organizational relationships; professional practice; expertise; knowledge management; learning; organizational boundaries; life-cycle; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: D23; (follow links to similar papers)

18 pages, November 1, 2006

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