Learning Across Teams: The Role of Communities of Practice in Team Organizations

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Abstract
Many companies today are moving to a new organizational model in which cross-functional teams are the key building block of the organization. While cross-functional teams are great vehicles for producing products and services, they have some key limitations that communities of practice can help address.


What this is

This paper explains how a "double-knit" organization links cross-functional teams together through communities of practice and enables teams to systematically learn from each other. Several key best practices are discussed, providing a good foundation for groups thinking about ways to encourage peer knowledge sharing in their organizations.


Why it's useful

Has your cross-functional team become just another silo? Cross-functional teams have many advantages over functional structures, but they can also become insulated from each other, focusing on team goals and reinventing ideas and analyses from other teams. Communities of practice can help organizations leverage the strengths of functional teams in a cross-functional environment.



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