Systèmes d'Information et Management


Communities of practice (CP) have given place to two types of studies. The ones endeavour to describe and explain the spontaneous operation and emergence of CP. The others try to use, for purposes of companies, these phenomena of informal organizational learning, by impelling and animating exchanges between pars. Based on a research-intervention in a large company, the article first shows that, even in the context of R&D's trades, there are conditions to the spontaneous emergence of CP, such as: existence of sufficiently shared professional identities; existence of sufficiently shared representations of the knowledge which is exchangeable between peers. In order to create and animate CPs, the authors then propose a scheme that takes into account these two conditions. This scheme has been set up in the company and deviates from traditional solutions on three points: formalization of a cartology of the trade's knowledge; creation of four types of missions of knowledge management, which articulate CP and tooled KM and which are held by R&D's operational actors; recasting of HRM's devices (management of careers, levels of classification, wage structure) so as to support the reconstitution of a shared identity condition of CP's existence.