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Development of a framework for the sustainability of professional CoPs in education, health and industry : a multiple discovery led case study approach

This thesis presents the results of a multiple discovery led case study research project. This research explored three professional Communities of Practice (CoPs) across three disciplines: education, industry and health. The thesis depicts the particularisations of the three case study CoPs. The study set out to explore the learning potential of CoPs and to provide empirical evidence to substantiate the link between participating in CoPs and learning, as there was a lack of empirical evidence indicating whether learning takes place within a community. The literature review within this study presents a summary of CoPs, the characteristics of a CoP, the lifecycle, organisational and online CoPs, and Communities of Learning (CoLs). This was very much in line with the study objectives, however, the themes identified and data gathered uncovered the importance and need for a framework for organisational CoPs. Consequently, new research questions emerged and the scope of the study shifted from one of learning to developing a framework which could be used by organisations to formulate and implement organisational CoPs. The methodology applied during this research study was a multiple discovery case study approach, which enabled the researcher to work with three unique CoPs. The methods of data collection included archival research, surveys, observations, semi-structured interviews and mapping. The survey findings were analysed using Mann-Whitney statistical analysis and Kruskal-Wallis tests indicated that there were significant differences between the three case study CoPs. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was conducted to analyse the interview transcripts. The outcome of the research study is a Formation and Implementation Framework which organisations can follow to form and implement CoPs within their professional environments. The framework also outlines a range of potential outcomes which an organisation can benefit from as a result of CoP implementation. The outcomes identified as a result of this study include: productivity, learning, knowledge transfer, professional development, performance and efficiency. This research makes contributions in three areas; knowledge, practice and policy. From a knowledge perspective; the literature review has presented a synthesis of the available literature, the research has contributed valuable insights by reporting the particularisations of three case study CoPs and a Formation and Implementation Framework has been proposed. From a practice perspective, a Formation and Implementation Framework has been developed, which is a practical tool for organisations to create and execute CoPs within organisations. The framework is the key outcome of the study and is an important original contribution as it addresses the weaknesses associated with existing frameworks. And finally, from a policy perspective, the research could influence organisational knowledge management strategies, professional development policies and support sectoral specialist interest groups.
Date January 2014
CreatorsStewart, Ashley Shafii
PublisherUniversity of the West of Scotland
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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