Communities of practice towards leveraging knowledge in the military
Palos, Guillermo A.
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The Department of Defense has recently discovered the benefits of Communities of Practice as a Knowledge Management program in strategic, tactical, and staff environments. Such communities have grown in popularity - 185,000 users growing at 5,000 per month in over 6,000 registered Communities in the Air Force alone. However, their emergent manner and perspective is limited; an information-focused approach prevails, through which primary emphasis is placed on technology and document archives. This approach fails to address knowledge as a unique human feature. As a result, current implementations are unable to address intrinsic fundamental issues about knowledge that could improve the effectiveness of new and extant Communities of Practice. This thesis addresses the deficiency by investigating the characteristics of knowledge, Knowledge Management and Communities of Practice and proposing a socio-technical knowledge-focused approach for military functional communities. Findings are applied principally to the Air Force Manpower function and the Navy Security Cooperation activity, but results should also be generalizable to other functions/organizations, military Services and Department of Defense organizations trying to implement new Communities of Practice or enhance existing ones.
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