Abstract – Community variety from a complexity perspective

Posted by Shawn Callahan - December 2, 2004
Filed in Communities of practice

Hi Nancy, thanks for your comment. Here is the abstract for the paper.

A new framework for communities of practice is required to unite the disjointed approaches currently employed to understand this organisational form. This paper proposes a framework based on complexity theory and applies a model developed by Axelrod and Cohen. A set of mechanisms are explored to understand how a designer might influence variety (of strategies and types) in a community of practice. Four mechanisms are addressed namely: the process of copying strategies and types, copying with error (mutation), recombination of ideas and the role of the physical environment. Understanding these mechanisms a designer can attempt to increase or decrease variety within a community of practice.

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