Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Managing VCoPs

Most studies on VCoPs simplicistically equate them to CoPs, while there are
some that doubt that a CoP could even exist in a distributed form (Harasim,
1993; Hung & Nichani, 2002; Lueg, 2000). I do not agree with them, but they
point out some interesting perspectives one has to be aware of when dealing
with a VCoP.

Johnson wrote "A survey of current research on online communities of
practice", that analyzed the state of the art of research up to 2001.

Dube, Bourhis and Jacob extensively wrote on VCoPs.
In 2003 they published "The impact of structural characteristics on
intentionally formed virtual communities of practice"
on the site of the HEC
Montreal (which they work for). This very same article, polished to get to a more scientific outlook, has been published in 2005 and is available from EMERALD database:
http://www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/viewPDF.jsp?Filename=html/Output/Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Pdf/0230180204.pdf

These articles analyze which characteristics of VCoPs are related to a
favourable outcome of their launching. They also give you some ideas on
which metrics to use to define "success" in a VCoP. An important part is the
concept of structuring characteristics, already considered to be a focal
issue by Neus in 2001.

Dube et al also published, in 2003, a much needed "Toward a typology of
virtual communities of practice
", digging more into the managerial aspects and wrote
"The success of virtual communities of practice: the leadership factor"
(2005) and ""Structuring spontaneity": the impact of management practices on the
success of intentionally formed virtual communities of practice
".

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