Virtual Communities of Practice: Investigating Motivations and Constraints in the Processes of Knowledge Creation and Transfer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


With accelerated market volatility, faster response times and increased globalization, business environments are going through a major transformation and firms have intensified their search for strategies which can give them competitive advantage. This requires that companies continuously innovate, to think of new ideas that can be transformed or implemented as products, processes or services, generating value for the firm. Innovative solutions and processes are usually developed by a group of people, working together. A grouping of people that share and create new knowledge can be considered as a Community of Practice (CoP). CoP's are places which provide a sound basis for organizational learning and encourage knowledge creation and acquisition. Virtual Communities of Practice (VCoP's) can perform a central role in promoting communication and collaboration between members who are dispersed in both time and space. Nevertheless, it is known that not all CoP's and VCoP's share the same levels of performance or produce the same results. This means that there are factors that enable or constrain the process of knowledge creation. With this in mind, we developed a case study in order to identify both the motivations and the constraints that members of an organization experience when taking part in the knowledge creating processes of VCoP's. Results show that organizational culture and professional and personal development play an important role in these processes. No interviewee referred to direct financial rewards as a motivation factor for participation in VCoPs. Most identified the difficulty in aligning objectives established by the management with justification for the time spent in the VCoP. The interviewees also said that technology is not a constraint.
Original languageUnknown
Title of host publicationEuropean Conference on Knowledge Management
EditorsE Bolisani, E Scarso
Place of PublicationReading
PublisherAcademic Conferences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009
Event10th European Conference on Knowledge Management -
Duration: 1 Jan 2009 → …


Conference10th European Conference on Knowledge Management
Period1/01/09 → …

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