Bridging ‘Communities of Practice’ Theory and Practice with Theory-derived Design Propositions

Activity: Talk or presentation typesConference contribution (without a publication)Academic


Woudstra, L., Rusman, E., De Jong, J., Van Zwol, W., & Van der Heijden, B. (2022). Bridging ‘Communities of Practice’ Theory and Practice with Theory-driven Design Principles. Presentation on the EAPRIL conference, 23th-25th of November, HAN University of Applied Science, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Communitiesof Practice (CoPs) are seen as a driving force in innovation and continuouslearning, which has attracted much attention from both scholars andpractitioners. However, the limited practical operationalization of the conceptseverely limits the capacity to study CoP theory or apply it in practice. Thepresent study aims to derive a more rigorous and detailed operationalization ofCoP theory. In order to do so, we conducted a literature study of Wenger’s workand important literature on which this work was based. The literature wassubsequently analyzed using a context-intervention-mechanism-outcome (CIMO)logic, enabling us to not only specify important factors in the development ofCoPs, but also the generative mechanisms involved in the fostering of itsdevelopment. With these more detailed design propositions, we simultaneouslyhelp to contribute to answering the repeated call for more empirical (ratherthan descriptive) research into CoP development and to overcoming challenges inCoP development in practice.

This work was supported by The NetherlandsOrganisation for Scientific Research (NWO) [grant number 055.19.200] and ispart of a broader project focused on leadership development through learningcommunities in road transport (LEADER).

Period25 Nov 2022
Event titleEuropean Association for Practitioner Research on Improving Learning
Event typeConference
LocationNijmegen, NetherlandsShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Communities of practice
  • Collaborative learning
  • Knowledge building
  • Professional development
  • Workplace learning