Book of the month – June/July 2023

Book of the month – June/July 2023

community of practice Etienne Wenger

Communities of Practice Within and Across Organizations: A Guidebook by Etienne Wenger-Trayner, Beverly Wenger-Trayner, Phil Reid and Claude Bruderlein

This guidebook is an indispensable resource for anyone with an interest in understanding and harnessing the power of communities of practice. Written by renowned experts in the field, it offers a comprehensive and insightful exploration of this dynamic concept, providing readers with a rich framework for building and nurturing vibrant communities of practice.

One of the book’s greatest strengths lies in the authors’ ability to break down complex ideas and present them in a clear and accessible manner. The book begins by defining communities of practice, emphasizing their importance in facilitating learning, knowledge sharing, and collaboration within the organization. The writing style is engaging, which makes it easy for readers to absorb and apply the concepts.

Throughout the guidebook, authors are masterfully weaving together theory and practical examples, drawing on extensive research and real-world cases – the JPMorgan Chase initiative called Ignite and The CCHN (Core Humanitarian Competencies Framework and Learning Initiative). The book illustrates the different stages of community development, from inception to maturity, and offers valuable insights into the dynamics that drive successful communities of practice. It also explores various factors that influence the effectiveness of these communities, such as leadership, organizational culture, and technology. 

Highlights of the book

The guidebook puts a great emphasis on the social nature of communities of practice. Thus the importance of trust, shared identity, and mutual engagement among members is highlighted to show how these elements foster a sense of belonging and commitment. The book also emphasizes the role of storytelling in building community, demonstrating how narratives can create connections, transmit knowledge, and inspire collective action. 

Moreover, the authors provide practical strategies for cultivating communities of practice within organizations, offering guidance on creating supportive structures, facilitating knowledge exchange, and overcoming common challenges. They delve into topics such as the role of technology in communities, strategies for engaging with various community members, and approaches for sustaining communities over time.

Although the guidebook offers a wealth of valuable insights, it may feel slightly dense for readers who are new to the subject. The extensive knowledge and research are evident throughout the book, and while this adds depth and credibility, it might be overwhelming for those seeking a more introductory overview.

Who would benefit from reading this book?

Overall, “Communities of Practice Within and Across Organizations – A Guidebook” is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the intricacies and potential of communities of practice. With its combination of theoretical grounding and practical advice, this book serves as an excellent resource for researchers, practitioners, and organizational leaders alike. The authors’ expertise shines through, making this guidebook an invaluable tool for building thriving communities of practice in any context.

You can purchase this book in print in your favourite bookshop. There is also a Kindle version available on Amazon.

If you want to check our previous Book of the Month selection, you can find it here:

Security Architecture – How & Why? by Tom Madsen

Elephant in the Room: Engaging with the Unsaid in Groups and Organizations by Lotte Svalgaard