The Contribution of a Wiki to the Development of a Community of Practice: A Case Study - Anna Maron Aug07

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Type of Report

Masters Thesis

Title

The Contribution of a Wiki to the Development of a Community of Practice: A Case Study

Author

Anna Maron

Year Published

2007

Description

This study analyses the role played by a wiki (the WaterWiki) in the development of a community of practice (CoP), established by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the spring of 2005. The study finds that the wiki did contribute to the development of the CoP, however, not to the extent predicted by the literature on CoPs and wikis. The wiki generated a sense of togetherness for the CoP; it functioned as a tool for knowledge sharing in the CoP; and the technical features of the tool allowed it to act as a vetted resource for the community. Despite these beneficial impacts, the study found that the usage of the wiki is mainly limited to requests to post information and reminders to contribute. This points towards the inability of the wiki to fulfil its potential of functioning as a tool for knowledge sharing in practice. The study makes three key reflections on why this may be the case. It argues that conventional perceptions of knowledge as object, as opposed to knowledge as socially situated in practice, and of knowledge as private good, in contrast to public good, prevail in the CoP. This hinders the full use of the wiki tool. In addition, the study finds support for the recent call in the CoP literature for the inclusion of a perspective of power in the analysis of CoPs.



 Anna Maron Thesis final Aug07.doc

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