WelBasic CMYKcome to JoinDrPam: A Community of Practice Dedicated to Driving Performance and my inaugural blog post.

I thought the best way to start might be to address the term “community of practice.” When a very well-read colleague of mine heard that I was starting an online community of practice, her response was, “What is that?  It sounds like a religious group.”  That led me to research the term, and once I found it on Wikipedia I felt confident that the concept does, in fact, exist. The phrase was born in 1991 by Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger in their book, ‘Situated Learning’ (Lave & Wenger 1991), and Wenger dedicated an entire book to the concept in 1998, ‘Communities of Practice’ (Wenger 1998).

While a community of practice could form around a religious topic, it is a group of people who come together with a common interest with the goal of gaining knowledge related to their topic or field of interest through information sharing. That was the idea that I had when building a community of practice related to my area of interest: performance excellence!

Upon conducting my research, I found a distinction exists between a community of practice and a community of interest. The former is generally made of up members with some expertise or experience in the chosen topic or field, who are actually practitioners in the chosen field. To join a community of interest, on the other hand, you only need have an interest in the topic, and need not be an expert or practitioner. Given this strict definition, arguably this online community could be termed a community of interest, because I hope that both practitioners and non-practitioners alike will engage in dialogue and sharing through this site.  However, I chose to stick with community of practice ‘cause I like it better!

I look forward to nurturing this online community of people interested in driving performance excellence at their organizations. So bookmark JoinDrPam and visit often to engage with others.

Dr. Pam