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Social Net Work and the Workplace Professional — 2 Comments

  1. Tom, I agree with most of your thinking, but I think characterizing the CoP as a subset of the social network isn’t completely accurate, at least as diagrammed. I connect to people in a larger network that are not members of any CoP I’m in. That is, I have friends who I don’t engage with as a CoP, though I’m interested in their work and we interact. And while individual members of CoPs are connected to the broader social network, to me CoPs are inherently both within and across orgs, so they’re ‘different’ than social networks. They don’t connect to broader social networks except through individuals with their networks, not ‘the’ social network. Make sense?

  2. Thank you, Clark. It does make sense. I was attempting to illustrate a CoP “zone” in the external network that’s characterized by close connections (in this context meaning one degree of separation) and having similar work-related interests. It wasn’t intended to suggest all close connections are part of that zone and it doesn’t reflect the many work-related interests shared with connections (therefore several zones exist). The point is that the networks, through individual connections with people who share work-related interests, empower the individual who bridges the firewall and has the responsibility to filter information appropriately. The importance of this connected individual is actually elevated because many members (often a majority) of actual communities of practice are not contributing nodes in the external network.

    I’ll join your group in the Social Learning Centre on the Coherent Organization and encourage others with shared interest to do the same.

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