Information and knowledge sharing within virtual communities of practice

15 Feb 2021

Background: The concept of a virtual community of practice (VCoP) emanates from the need to create a new mode of learning and knowledge development platform. It has also been found that highly structured forums are not always the best way to assist people to learn and improve their knowledge. The first author (main researcher) has limited background knowledge and professional practice in the area of VCoPs. Within this context, the investigation of the use of VCoPs to optimise knowledge sharing within stakeholders is the central theme of this research. The authors adapted the life cycle knowledge flow model and present an extended model that resulted after an empirical research was conducted with various VCoPs. Objectives: The objective of this paper is to report on the research that, firstly, attempted to find a suitable model among all previous research conducted on knowledge sharing (management) and to create a new model that could be used to optimise knowledge sharing within VCoPs. Method: In this research, a review of literature was used to define the main concepts of this research. A qualitative methodology was used. The responses received using two questionnaires were analysed to establish some premise, derived from the findings. The Miles and Huberman framework for qualitative analysis was also used to analyse the data set received from participants in the two questionnaires administered. This framework for analysis includes data reduction, data display, drawing and verifying conclusions. Results: An extended life cycle knowledge flow model is proposed to optimise knowledge sharing within VCoPs. Conclusion: A comprehensive knowledge flow model, namely the extended life cycle knowledge flow model, was found to be most suited from the literature. The analysis of two questionnaires, one administered in 2011?2012 and the other in 2016, led to the adaptation of the model to enhance knowledge sharing within VCoPs and, in turn, to develop and optimise knowledge sharing in enterprises.