Today a pre-publishing article about communities of practice in “business and healthcare sectors” was released. Canadian Linda Li, together with four others, evaluated the use and application of communities of practice in the health section and compared it to the business sector, which has been systematically embracing the CoP learning environment for many years now.
The article, in pre-publishing format about 30 pages long, shows an extensive description of the author's understanding of communities and the way the investigation was performed. There are two major weaknesses in the research, which hopefully can be addressed in a follow-up research:
- The research paper was only performed on existing studies about communities, interviews with researchers and database (meta) information – no anecdotal collection or interviews directly inside the medical or business communitites themselves.
- Although the authors have basic understanding about the way communities work and its main qualities, there is no focus on differentiates medical communities from other business communities; this could have been addressed with the above mentioned bullet or otherwise with more in-depth analysis about the purpose of the medical communities.
Medical communities are not like most business communities. Having been involved in a group of medical communities with over 20,000 users, we found that the sense of belonging and the “purpose” has some important differences to business communities or communities within a business environment. It makes it harder to sustain in the medium to long term.
Just in case, the paper can be also downloaded here.