The purpose of this research is to get a clear view on how can we judge groups in relation to the characteristics of a community of practice (CoP), and the presence of collective learning in these groups.
Design / methodology / approach
A review of literature on collective learning and CoPs led to the development of a conceptual model, which was tested through case study research against empiricaldata from three groups in organizations.
The groups differed concerning group characteristics, but also concerning the collective learning processes and learning outcomes present. The group that can be characterized as a CoP learns a lot, but the (learning) processes in the group are not always in favour of the organizational learning process.
Research limitations / implications
The conceptual framework was helpful to evaluate thecharacteristics of CoPs in relation to collective learning. These ﬁndings suggest that it will beinteresting to expand the model, for example with consideration to the way CoPs experience the need to change.
The developed framework might help managers to judge if groups in anorganization have characteristics of a CoP, if they are in balance and what might be needed to developtowards an ideal CoP with a great learning potential.