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DETERMINING CHARACTERISTICS OF COPS > DETERMINING CHARACTERISTICS OF COPS - Pg. 183

Encouraging Participation in Virtual Communities of Practice within the United States Air Force edge and community members are established. It is here that community members are engaged in the development of their practice through various means which may include community speakers and community meetings. This structural char- acteristic involves finding ways to maximize the amount of knowledge available through efficient use of the resources at hand. The combination of these three elements en- ables CoPs to effectively manage their knowledge. According to Wenger (1998), domain provides a common focus, community builds relationships that enable collective learning, and practice an- chors the learning in what people do. Because CoPs are organized into domains of knowledge catered to specific members that practice within them, they are well-positioned to add sustainable strategic value to the organization. Figure 2 de- picts how knowledge management is a strategic activity that starts with a strategy and ends with are three components of practice for a CoP: mu- tual engagement, joint enterprise, and shared repertoire. Mutual engagement refers to the notion that practitioners with the same interests and ideas will typically be members of the same CoPs. Joint enterprise reflects the notion that beyond stated goals there is mutual accountability among com- munity members. Finally, shared repertoire in- cludes routines, methods, tools, stories, gestures, symbols, and other such actions and objects that the community has developed over time. Figure 3 addresses the evolution of the CoP, beginning with its structural characteristics that lead to it conception and then its dimensions of practice leading to its growth in community members. By examining the above figure, reconsider the Microsoft Corporation finance example described earlier. Each employee working in finance for the Microsoft Corporation has a common purpose or domain: to successfully control, monitor, and