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A community of practice or a working psychological group? Group dynamics in core and peripheral community participation

A community of practice or a working psychological group? Group dynamics in core and peripheral community participation

Gray, David E. ORCID: 0000-0002-3881-5083 and Gabriel, Yiannis (2018) A community of practice or a working psychological group? Group dynamics in core and peripheral community participation. Management Learning, 49 (4). pp. 395-412. ISSN 1350-5076 (Print), 1461-7307 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/1350507618761774)

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Abstract

The concept of communities of practice (CoP) has become increasingly influential in management literature. Yet, many scholars regard the term as too homogenous and lacking in empirical support. Our study explores the Silver Academy, a project involving over 100 unemployed and self-employed managers over the age of 50, who came together with the purpose of sharing knowledge and experience in starting up their own businesses. The study shows how the Academy matches the notion of CoP including mutual relationships, shared engagement and a common consensus of membership. However, applying Bion’s (1961) theory of groups, we challenge the homogenous and consensual notion of a community of practice, illustrating how, through unconscious group processes, some group members exhibit workgroup mentality and the capacity for realistic hard work (and leadership), while others are caught in a basic-assumption mentality, prone to feelings of anxiety, guilt and depression. This is particularly so for a group that has gone through the recent trauma of unemployment.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Communities of practice; CoP; group dynamics; group conflict; group psychodynamics; Bion
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of Human Resources & Organisational Behaviour
Faculty of Business > Centre for Work and Employment Research (CREW) > Leadership & Organisational Behaviour Research Group (LOB)
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2019 13:32
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: GREAT a
Selected for GREAT 2019: GREAT 6
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/19498

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