Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity

Cambridge University Press
Free sample

This book presents a theory of learning that starts with the assumption that engagement in social practice is the fundamental process by which we get to know what we know and by which we become who we are. The primary unit of analysis of this process is neither the individual nor social institutions, but the informal 'communities of practice' that people form as they pursue shared enterprises over time. To give a social account of learning, the theory explores in a systematic way the intersection of issues of community, social practice, meaning, and identity. The result is a broad framework for thinking about learning as a process of social participation. This ambitious but thoroughly accessible framework has relevance for the practitioner as well as the theoretician, presented with all the breadth, depth, and rigor necessary to address such a complex and yet profoundly human topic.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Sep 28, 1999
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Pages
216
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ISBN
9781107268371
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Language
English
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Genres
Psychology / General
Psychology / Social Psychology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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There is already considerable literature on learning at the individual level and a growing body of literature on group and organizational learning. But to date, there has been little attempt to bring these literatures together and link learning at all three levels. Continuous Learning in Organizations targets learning at each of the three levels and demonstrates how processes at one level impacts learning at other levels. At the heart of the work is the idea that individuals, groups, and organizations are living systems with internal learning mechanisms that can be activated and supported or stymied and thwarted. Once activated, systems can learn adaptively by reacting to a change in the environment; they can learn by generating new knowledge and conditions; and/or they can transform by creating and applying frame-breaking ideas and bringing about radically new conditions. Individuals, groups, and organizations are nested within each other forming an increasingly complex hierarchy of intertwined systems. From this point of view, the book describes the interactions between the levels and how developmental processes at one level affect learning at other levels.


The text appeals to both the scientist and professionals alike in the fields of human resource development, training, management and executive education, coaching, and organization change and development. It is also for executives who establish directions for learning and need to convince others that continuous learning is the key to on-going success of their enterprise.
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