Structural Analysis of Communities of Practice: An Investigation of Job Title, Location and Management Intention
Springer London, Dordrecht Amsterdam
The community of practice phenomenon has been extensively studied in qualitative terms, but there has been relatively little research using quantitative techniques. This study uses the common social network measures of connectedness, density, graph theoretic distance, and core / periphery fit to examine how groups defined by different characteristics align with community of practice theory. Specifically, it investigates the roles of job title, location, and management intention relative to the structural characteristics of communities of practice. Workers were assigned to groups based upon their job title, job group, division, location, and emergent behavior (results of hierarchical clustering). Initial results suggest that grouping employees by their emergent behavior yields network measures that are most closely related to community of practice theory.