One of Us? How do Developing Market Professionals Engage with International Communities of Practice?
thesisposted on 10.07.2018, 10:04 by Adrian James Paul Waite
Much focus has been given in recent years to the Community of Practice, Participation Metaphor of Learning. Less attention has been paid in the literature to understanding the elements effecting how people are able to engage, particularly within the dynamic of developing market professionals within international CoP’s. This study explores the experiences and perceptions of established international professional’s and newcomers within this dynamic. Through qualitative investigation in two organisations in West Africa and the Middle East, the study discusses findings within two meta themes regarding the effects of local newcomer’s experiences of legitimate peripheral participation in their respective CoP’s. Firstly “Multiple and Consistent Identity Formation within CoP Constellation Navigation” explores two-way meaning and learning from professional communities and the impact on actors developing professional and personal identities. This is built from four contributory themes; Exploring different routes to CoP participation; Impacts of professional vs domestic CoP’s on identity; Continuity of personal identity across CoP’s and the impact of CoP norms on Identity. Secondly “Palatable Diversity” explores evidence around the impact of sponsored participation opportunities; Positive discrimination policies, Effects of local CoP members becoming established; Degrees of diversity found palatable by established Professionals, and finally: An absence of Racism in LPP. Conclusions are made that engagement in LPP is entirely possible through a nuanced understanding of individual differences within a complex landscape of CoP’s, which is notably different for developing market newcomers in comparison to their international predecessors. This impacts on their professional and personal identities in different ways. It was however found that access was attainable to them, if they succeeded in understanding and navigating the trajectories required for participation by established members. This is presented as providing a contribution to the debate through problematizing recent literature on multiple identity creation through meaning making in legitimate peripheral participation, as well as adding to the discussion on attitudes to diversity within a constellation landscape of international and local CoP’s.