A Practice Centred Approach to Understanding Social Learning and Knowledge Creation in a “Community of Practice”

  •  David Boateng Sarpong    


Communities of Practice (CoPs) in organisation science are often described as ‘the shop floor of human capital’ where learning and knowledge creation which underpins innovation evolves. Adopting the Bristol area geocaching community as a case study, this paper draws on the ‘practice turn’ in contemporary social theory to study the everyday interaction of the community members in their situated practice. Taking the geocaching community and their practice as a collective unit of analysis, the study employed the qualitative methods of ethnographic interviewing, participant observation and content analysis of archival internet forum logs of members to extend our understanding of the performative processes of social learning and knowledge creations in CoPs. A conceptual framework showing how the interactions among actors and their artefacts and reflexivity in practice could lead to learning and knowledge creation that stimulates innovation in a CoP is presented as a modest attempt to improve our understanding of the dynamics of a CoP renewal and sustainability.

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