Communities-of-Practice: Powerful or Powerless?
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The extant literature provides evidence that control measures employed in Communities-of-Practice (CoP) have undergone significant changes with the evolution of the concept. When it started as a self-organized group, its members had the freedom to pursue their own interests. Now, CoPs are moving closer towards bureaucratic form of control. The paper argues that it might still be difficult to locate the power base in a CoP, but undercurrents suggest that they have a strong affinity for managements’ interests. The paper also shows that CoPs can be formed intentionally, which is contrary to the common view that they emerge naturally. This seriously limits their autonomy as envisaged by the early proponents of CoP, who believed that closely knit informal groups would enhance situational learning.