Tacit Knowledge Retention with Communities of Practice

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —August 27, 2007
Filed in Collaboration


Last year I wrote this short paper arguing that communities of practice were an effective strategy to transfer tacit knowledge. This week we gave the old look and feel a makeover and updated the pdf.

This paper therefore provides guidance on how to identify and foster such communities of practice in your organisation. It explains why communities of practice are effective in managing tacit knowledge, describes how to ‘map’ communities, and provides suggestions for garnering management support. Finally, the paper describes three common traps to avoid.

About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:

3 Responses to “Tacit Knowledge Retention with Communities of Practice”

  1. Sue Wittenoom Says:

    Its not just the retiring baby-boomers walking out the door with all the accrued smarts – reading through this paper I was reminded of the high profile people who champion a cause within an organisation, go to all the summits/conferences/working parties and then take their gloriously juicy cv and all the frequent flier points with them to another company. Communities of practice make sure that the exposure is somehow harvested along the way and shared with others.
    Shawn – the arrow and cloud figure: should the flow of questions/problems and answers/innovations be swapped around?

  2. Julian Carver Says:

    Yes, I agree, I’m sure it was the other way around on your original one. By the way, I use this diagram often, people really click when they see it, it’s such a concise representation of the relationship between the two.

  3. Shawn Says:

    Thanks for the heads up on the arrow being the wrong way. I will get it fixed.

Send this to a friend