Why do communities of practice fail? Understand CoPs and their limitations (2023)

Why do communities of practice fail? CoPs are business gold mines that are often overlooked because executives don't know how to use them effectively.

Why do communities of practice fail?

Communities of practice (CoP) have become an integral part of the organizational landscape. Organizations use it to share best practices, improve employee performance, create new strategies, and create innovative approaches to problem solving.

If you, as someone in a leadership position, don't know that your company has CoP, you are part of the problem. We are here to show you how to use these communities to your advantage.

One of the reasons why CoPs have been so successful is the spontaneous transfer of knowledge. Through constant interaction, community members continue to learn and benefit from each other and their organization.

But like any other organizational structure, Communities of Practice are not a "magic bullet." In this article, we examine thePotential CoP Challengesand as organizationscan effectively implementand increase the probability of successful results.

Boundaries of communities of practice

In the report published inJournal of Leadership and Organizational Studiesjustified "A consideration of open questions and difficulties of approach", Steven J. Kerno Jr. from Ambrose University spoke about the different boundaries of communities of practice:

It is organic and informal in nature.

As you will know from our previous discussions on CoPs, these groups are formed through mutual relationships.

For example, a community of physicians who share a common interest in innovating medical procedures to make them more affordable and accessible to the public, engineers who want to expand their network and learn from each other, or CEOs who meet regularly to discuss policies affecting their respective businesses.

Unlike "teams" or "business units," participation in a community of practice flows freely. As long as the members share the same interest or domain, a CoP is born.

(Video) Community of Practice (CoP) success story

Therefore, within an organization, communities of practice (which are informal in nature) are resistant to supervision and interference. However, in order for the organization to measure the impact of CoPs and their benefits, these communities must be monitored.

What can be done

Because CoPs are difficult to manage, organizations can help CoPs succeed by supporting their knowledge sharing capabilities. This can be achieved by providing members with tools that allow them to communicate and easily access and share knowledge.

They should also be encouraged to participate in CoP activities and initiatives.

Even if your company has a Scrum Master whoThe Scrum Master needs to start organizing CoP. It is highly recommended to implement this within the first six months of becoming a Scrum Master in a company.

time restrictions

Another challenge communities of practice face are time requirements and constraints. Due to the fast pace of the corporate world, today's organizations are always in a "time crisis."

Given the spontaneous and informal nature of communities of practice, the availability of time for them to participate in activities and develop social interaction is necessary for them to be effective.

CoPs are less likely to achieve great results when pressed for time. Not to mention that the members of the CoP are your employees who also have to spend time on their main tasks.

What can be done

(Video) Communities of Practice (CoP)

For community members to create a flow of knowledge, constant interactions, regular meetings, and engagements must take place.

Often engaged in time-consuming activities, CoPs can consume a lot of time and resources to achieve positive results without your support. It's a mindset shift that leaders like you need to embrace.

As the old saying goes, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Give your employees time to play with his ideas about his industry and watch his innovative spirit produce new fruits that only his company can bring to market.

organizational hierarchies

Even today, most organizations are hierarchical in nature. This is particularly problematic for communities of practice, which are meant to be fluid and spontaneous.

For example, a typical organization has a top-down structure, starting with the CEO and working down to managers, supervisors, and employees (is this your company?). This affects your lines of communication and relationships.

The downside is that communities of practice are most effective when they interact with people who are at the same level or have experience with them in the role, function, or interest, since the nature of their interaction is to solve problems that they have all experienced by sharing ideas and better. practices, practices and knowledge sharing applicable to your work.

What can be done

When forming communities of practice, organizations should view them as a single entity that does not need to adhere to the organizational hierarchy to reach their full potential.

Communities of practice should be a safe haven for your employees to express their ideas and communicate with each other without the usual structural barriers.

(Video) First Work’s Communities of Practice

sociocultural environment

Finally, there is the sociocultural environment. As a social community, communities of practice reflect broader social structures and the sociocultural environment in which they are found.

Kerno points out that organizations operating in Western societies are less likely to benefit successfully from CoPs than those in the East due to the relatively weaker social ties between individuals.

What can be done

This is well beyond the control of one organization, but it is worth giving communities of practice full support and more tools and opportunities to connect and interact with each other.

As the leader of your business, you can also help create a more sociable environment by encouraging people to reach out to you and being a little more open with others. This means not censoring and immediately rejecting opinions that you think differ from your own.

Turn challenges into opportunities

In addition to the inherent limitations faced by organizations trying to implement CoP today, there are other challenges that need to be addressed.

One involves membership. It's easy to force employees to join a CoP by telling them it will improve their scorecard. However, they must beencouraged, not forced.

To gain buy-in from their employees, organizations must take advantage of continuous learning and personal development when promoting CoPs.

Assigning a moderator is also a great way to keep track of the progress of the CoP and ensure that members interact regularly. With a chair, it's easy to start a discussion, assign tasks and projects, and get everyone involved in different activities and initiatives.

(Video) AA016 - Communities of Practice

Finally, it is very important to invest in tools, facilities and resources that support CoPs. Communities of practice must have a creative environment in which members are free to share ideas, discuss and gather information.

They can benefit from having their own communication platform, their own budget, and even a place for their regular meetings. They should be allowed to run their own processes (eg media).

The main purpose of Communities of Practice is to help an organization improve and achieve its goals. Therefore, they must be empowered in all aspects.

We can do this by first identifying their inherent limitations, and then giving them the tools they need to turn those challenges into endless possibilities.

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Why do communities of practice fail? Understand CoPs and their limitations (1)

(Video) Communities of practice webinar

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Why do communities of practice fail? ›

Members do not view participation in their COP as meaningful for their daily work. They thus do not perceive other members as peers who can assist them with useful knowledge and practices.

What are the challenges of communities of practice? ›

There are four major challenges associated with communities of practice (Clarke and Cooper, 2000). They are community challenge, management challenge, personal challenge and technical challenge.

What are the disadvantages of community of practice? ›

COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE, LIKE ALL HUMAN institutions, also have a downside. They can hoard knowledge, limit innovation, and hold others hostage to their expertise. The medieval guilds, for instance, were often fortresses as much as they were stewards of knowledge.

What is the importance of communities of practice CoP )? ›

Increased Collaboration

A Community of Practice (CoP) connects people and creates an avenue for people to interact, pool resources, and work in partnership. By organizing collaboration, a variety of people get to work and interact with each other. Without a CoP, these relationships may not have occurred otherwise.

What are the limitations of community participation? ›

5 Principal Challenges of Public Participation
  • 1 Costly. A major internal challenge in public participation is inadequate financial resources and human resources. ...
  • 2 Lack of skilled facilitator. ...
  • 3 Low efficiency. ...
  • 4 Not interested in participation. ...
  • 5 Language barrier.
Aug 11, 2020

What are the causes of lack of community participation? ›

Such lack of participation may stem from community, religious and social prejudice or from inadequate information and communication on the part of the development planners.

What are the challenges of community police? ›

The efficiency of this approach is, however, facing certain challenges, namely: interference of some 'powerful' members of society in the course of justice, inertia on the part of some corrupt police officials who want the status quo to be main- tained, financial constraints, and the unpleasant image of the police.

What are some of the challenges of implementing community policing? ›

The study identified the key constraints to implementation of Community policing and community safely in the slum community of WestPoint are as follows: Poor policing, insecurity, poor customer service in the police force, lack of civic society collaboration in solving collective problem, increased trust and improved ...

What are the three 3 barriers of community building? ›

The three most common obstacles that can get in the way of long-term community development projects are market changes, community opposition, and multidisciplinary needs.

What are some disadvantages of having a community policing specialized unit in a police department? ›

A major disadvantage is that the only way that community policing is with community involvement. There must be an established partnership between the police officers and the community. Without the trust and involvement of the community, any attempts at community policing will fail.

What are the limitations of best practices? ›

Here are four:
  • Best practices can dilute an organization's strategic differentiation. ...
  • Best practices may enforce a limiting industry paradigm. ...
  • Best practices can expose underlying worldviews. ...
  • Best practices can preserve functional area power.
Jan 26, 2017

What makes a community disadvantaged? ›

Disadvantaged communities refers to the areas throughout California which most suffer from a combination of economic, health, and environmental burdens. These burdens include poverty, high unemployment, air and water pollution, presence of hazardous wastes as well as high incidence of asthma and heart disease.

What is the most important element of community policing? ›

Community policing emphasizes proactive problem solving in a systematic and routine fashion. Rather than responding to crime only after it occurs, community policing encourages agencies to proactively develop solutions to the immediate underlying conditions contributing to public safety problems.

How do communities of practice cop differ from teams? ›

Managers select team members on the basis of their ability to contribute to the team's goals, and the group disbands once the project has been finished. Communities of practice, on the other hand, are informal—they organize themselves, meaning they set their own agendas and establish their own leadership.

How do you build a successful community of practice? ›

How to start a community of practice
  1. Outline your domain. ...
  2. Define your goals. ...
  3. Get proper introductions from your members. ...
  4. Choose your moderator(s) ...
  5. Find your platform. ...
  6. Offer resources and support to beginners. ...
  7. Monitor and modify your community.
Mar 8, 2022

What is limitations participatory decision-making? ›

Here are the disadvantages of a participative management style: Inhibit swift decision-making. Since participative managers want each team member to weigh in on the situation at hand, it can lengthen the decision-making process. When an urgent matter arises, this type of leader may take too long to reach a conclusion.

What are the factors affecting participation of people in community? ›

These factors consists of leadership, diversity of the communication channel in the community, communication in the community, developing infrastructure in community's communication, giving precedence to the social and economic group in the community,Doing traditional and cultural activity regularly in the problem or ...

What are the possible reasons why some people did not participate in any forms of community engagement? ›

  • 8 Reasons Why You're Seeing Low Engagement in your Community. ...
  • You have the wrong people in the group. ...
  • You Aren't Creating Any Value for your Members. ...
  • You aren't reminding members to come back. ...
  • Your Barriers to Entry are Too High. ...
  • Your leadership style isn't resonating. ...
  • You Haven't Created a Space of Emotional Safety.
Jan 7, 2016

What are the major challenges that affect active community participation? ›

Qualitative instrument was validated using peer review. The findings revealed that, ignorance, poor school leadership, poverty, political interference, poor beliefs and customs and lack of communication between the school and the community are the major challenges facing communities in participating in schools.

What are the 4 factors that affect a community? ›

They are broken into four categories: human elements, social factors, environment and geography, and resources. Each factor discussed in the article is only a factor that may possibly be present in a community that can contribute towards community development.

What are the factors that hinder community mobilization? ›

  • Low awareness of HFGCs on participation in health Planning. ...
  • Poor communication and information sharing between CHMT and HFGC. ...
  • Lack of awareness of the roles and responsibilities of HFGC leads to poor participation in the development of CCHP. ...
  • HFGC members lack management capacity.
Jun 1, 2015

What are the limitations of community Oriented policing? ›

One limitation of the policy that can negatively affect community policing is the lack of trust in law enforcement in communities, especially minority communities. The incidents involving the killings of unarmed black men and women have caused distrust in law enforcement by minority groups.

What are 3 major problems that police officers face today? ›

In this article, we explore four current issues in law enforcement and the impact they're having on police departments across the country.
  • Police Recruitment and Retention. ...
  • Police Accountability. ...
  • Embracing Technological Advancements in Law Enforcement. ...
  • Data-Driven Crime Prevention.
Feb 14, 2022

What affects police/community relations? ›

In sum, police–community relations refers to the ongoing and changing relationship between the police and the communities they serve. This includes issues of cooperation, race relations, fear of police, violence, and corruption.

What barriers exist in the view of communities and law enforcement ethics? ›

When asked what the main problems are when it comes to police-community relations, police leaders listed “language barriers,” “connecting with the community,” and “lack of meaningful communication on both sides and lack of understanding of police practices” as obstacles to better relations.

What are 3 problems in the community? ›

Example Community Problems: Adolescent pregnancy, access to clean drinking water, child abuse and neglect, crime, domestic violence, drug use, pollution, mismanagement of resources, lack of funding for schools and services, ethnic conflict, health disparities, HIV/ AIDS, hunger, inadequate emergency services, ...

What are the 3 C's of community? ›

By referring to three themes of collaboration, consultation and communication, we use insights from workshop discussions to describe how community engagement can move up the ladder of participation with different community groups (See Figure 1). Figure 1. The 3 C's model of participatory community engagement.

What are the 3 most important factors for community success? ›

The research also identifies these additional factors that contribute to a successful community of practice: self-governance. a sense of ownership. the level of trust.

Why community policing is failing? ›

First, the failure of community policing may have stemmed from the insufficient buy-in from senior police leadership. The research teams generally partnered with local police forces to implement community policing; in many cases, these actors were hamstrung by inadequate commitment from higher-level police leadership.

What is the weakness of community in criminal justice system? ›

The weakness is police oppression which is a reoccurring problem amongst minority's, for example, race riots. Racism and discrimination by police within communities show marginalised groups have less respect for police, as they feel targeted and reserve more attention.

Why did the police community relations movement fail? ›

Although the political era is generally thought of as a period characterized by positive police–community relations, it was not without its problems. Two of the more significant problems during this period were (1) the involvement of police in corruption and (2) limited oversight and supervision of patrol officers.

What makes a practice best practice? ›

A best practice is a standard or set of guidelines that is known to produce good outcomes if followed. Best practices are related to how to carry out a task or configure something. Strict best practice guidelines may be set by a governing body or may be internal to an organization.

What is the impact of best practices? ›

Boosts Efficiency And Competence

Sharing best practices in an organization will considerably shrink the time spent in looking for knowledge as all employees will have access to the right information whenever they need it. Employees can share their ideas, brainstorm, and collaborate in a relaxed environment.

How do you ensure best practices? ›

Steps to setting best practices include researching the industry and competitors, communicating the standards to all employees, setting metrics, managing change, evaluating and refining the best practices. Two common best practices that have been implemented for inventory management include "just in time" and "kaizen."

How do you identify a disadvantaged community? ›

A community qualifies as “disadvantaged” if the census tract is above the threshold for one or more environmental or climate indicators and the tract is above the threshold for the socioeconomic indicators.

What is a socially disadvantaged community? ›

individuals are those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias within American society because of their identities as members of groups and without regard to their individual qualities. The social disadvantage must stem from circumstances beyond their control. (b) Members of designated ...

What are the characteristics of an unhealthy community? ›

Poor-quality housing, limited public transportation, high crime rates, and other socially disrupted conditions reduce sense of community, access to health care, and the ability to manage chronic diseases properly. Children suffer the most damaging effects of these inequities.

How effective is community policing? ›

Community policing doesn't build trust between citizens and police, it doesn't lead to citizens to share the kinds of tips and information with police that might improve police efficiency, and, perhaps not surprisingly then, it does not lead to lower crime.

How important are police roles in the community? ›

Role of Police

The police are built into communities around the world, and they are meant to serve four primary roles: enforce the law, prevent crime, provide emergency response, and provide support services.

Does community policing reduce crime? ›

Depending on crime type, CP can be a promising policing strategy to reduce crimes. und a statistically significant, positive impact of CP, despite the limitations of including only Turkish- and English-language studies.

Are community police real police? ›

Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) work with police officers and share some, but not all of their powers. Special constables are volunteers who have the same powers as police.

What is the purpose of CoP communities of practice groups? ›

Communities of Practice (CoPs) are organized groups of people who have a common interest in a specific technical or business domain. They collaborate regularly to share information, improve their skills, and actively work on advancing the general knowledge of the domain.

What makes a community of practice effective? ›

The most important part of communities of practice is the consistent and regular communication and sharing of best practices, case studies, and data. This ongoing interaction enables professionals to learn and implement new strategies that would otherwise not be on their radar or in their wheelhouse.

What is the goal of a community of practice? ›

Communities of practice (CoPs) connect people with common goals and interests for the purpose of sharing resources, strategies, innovations and support. CoPs support the transmission and expansion of knowledge and expertise for leaders, learners and professionals in any field or discipline.

Which three elements are required for a community of practice? ›

Wenger (2002) describes three fundamental elements of CoPs: (1) domain (i.e., the subject of shared interest), (2) community (i.e., the social interactions and relationships among members), and (3) practice (i.e., the frameworks, ideas, tools, language, documents, and stories that members share) [34, 35].

What are some community mistakes? ›

The 7 Most Common Community Building Mistakes
  • Do nothing but sell, sell, sell to your community. ...
  • Stop engaging with your community in a meaningful way. ...
  • Fail to keep up with your community and the way they like to communicate. ...
  • You start over communicating with your community. ...
  • You sell out and try to act like you haven't.
Feb 13, 2018

How do you kick off a community of practice? ›

Launch a CoP
  1. Build Membership. Once CoP leaders and an initial description of the interest and mission of your community have been determined, it is time to begin the search for CoP members. ...
  2. Interview Potential Members. ...
  3. Survey Members. ...
  4. Invite Experts. ...
  5. The Kickoff Meeting. ...
  6. Determining Priorities. ...
  7. CoP Promotion.

What are the three consequences of lack of basic services on the individual and the community? ›

Expert-Verified Answer. The consequences include poor health, unemployment, lack of basic resources, illiteracy etc.


1. The End of Policing, Chapter 1 (The Limits of Police Reform)
(Audio Anarchy)
2. Mediating Boundaries - CoP Discussion
(Jisc BCE)
3. Strong Communities Make Cops Obsolete
(Haymarket Books)
4. Policing in Our Communities
5. 2021 George L. Kelling Lecture: Fixing The Right Problems In Policing
(Manhattan Institute)
6. Creating and Governing Communities of Practice
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