Title page for ETD etd-08112005-110134

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Van Wyk, Barend Johannes
Email johann.vanwyk@up.ac.za
URN etd-08112005-110134
Document Title Communities of practice : an essential element in the knowledge management practices of an academic library as learning organisation
Degree MIS
Department Information Science
Advisor Name Title
Prof M M M Snyman
  • learning organisation
  • Communities of Practice
  • cultural knowledge
  • tacit knowledge
  • organisational knowledge
  • Academic library
  • knowledge management
  • Academic Information Service
  • explicit knowledge
Date 2005-08-08
Availability unrestricted
Communities of Practice have been utilized with great success by organisations in the business and manufacturing sectors to help in the management of their knowledge. Not much research have been done on their application in learning organisations such as academic libraries, however. The aim of this study was therefore to determine how knowledge can be managed through Communities of Practice in a learning organisation such as an academic library.

The investigation was build around the concepts knowledge management, learning organisations and Communities of Practice and the interrelationship between these concepts. The role Communities of Practice play in the management of knowledge in a learning organisation is investigated as well as the development stages in the implementation of Communities of Practice to support knowledge management. This is followed by an investigation of the factors critical to the success of Communities of Practice in a learning organisation.

The investigation consisted of a literature study to help define the key concepts and to lay a framework for the research design, and is followed by an empirical study where interviews were held with some of the staff members of the Academic Information Service (AIS) of the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

In conclusion it was found that the AIS was considered a learning organisation and that the AIS was in the beginning stages of knowledge management. A number of Communities of Practice in the AIS were identified that existed internally and externally, and the small number of internal Communities of Practice in the AIS were linked to specific inhibiting factors. The study also showed that Communities of Practice can be found in learning organisations, and that learning organisations are characterised by knowledge management. Knowledge managed through Communities of Practice was also shown to help in the development of learning organisations. Communities of Practice in the AIS were shown to be in the beginning stages of development. The role of management, incentives and rewards for participation, information technology/tools, attention to newcomers, knowledge capturing/sharing techniques, trust and a proper knowledge management framework were shown to be essential for the success of Communities of Practice in the AIS.

  Filename       Size       Approximate Download Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds) 
 28.8 Modem   56K Modem   ISDN (64 Kb)   ISDN (128 Kb)   Higher-speed Access 
  00front.pdf 156.19 Kb 00:00:43 00:00:22 00:00:19 00:00:09 < 00:00:01
  01chapter1.pdf 144.15 Kb 00:00:40 00:00:20 00:00:18 00:00:09 < 00:00:01
  02chapter2.pdf 302.00 Kb 00:01:23 00:00:43 00:00:37 00:00:18 00:00:01
  03chapter3.pdf 289.63 Kb 00:01:20 00:00:41 00:00:36 00:00:18 00:00:01
  04chapter4.pdf 354.15 Kb 00:01:38 00:00:50 00:00:44 00:00:22 00:00:01
  05chapter5.pdf 344.89 Kb 00:01:35 00:00:49 00:00:43 00:00:21 00:00:01
  06chapter6.pdf 120.39 Kb 00:00:33 00:00:17 00:00:15 00:00:07 < 00:00:01
  07bibliography.pdf 161.39 Kb 00:00:44 00:00:23 00:00:20 00:00:10 < 00:00:01

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