Communities of practice as a national skills development strategy

Van Eeden, Quinton (2004-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The South African society and economy are characterised by a duality - one is highly developed and able to participate in the global KnowledgeEconomy; the other, largely focused on subsistence with no access to the "infostructure" and opportunities of the Information Age. At the root of this duality is the disparity in skills between the developed and developing sectors of our society. Whileskills development is required in the developingsector along with other measures to address the "digital divide", skills retention through the transfer and sharing of knowledgeis required in the developed sector where various factors are causing a flight of skills from South Africa. These disparate objectives further exacerbate the unequal distribution of skills, knowledge, opportunities, and income and increase the chasm between "the two economies", negating any participation by South Africa in the global Knowledge Economy. Communities of Practice, as a proven and mature knowledge management strategy, is proposed as an appropriate method whereby skills development and knowledge transfer can take place in South African organisations and it is proposed that the National Skills DevelopmentStrategy recognises communities of practice as a core element. Individual and organisational learning in terms of skills development and knowledge transfer as well as the nature, support, structure, and value of communities of practice are conceptualised and described to provide a broad understanding of and illustrate the contribution that that communities could make to South Africa's ability to participate in the KnowledgeEconomyand closing the divide between our "twoeconomies".

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: KENNISGEMEENSKAPPE AS 'N NASIONALE VAARDIGHElDS ONTWIKKELING STRATEGIE Die Suid Afrikaanse samelewing en ekonomie word gekenmerk deur 'n dualiteit - een sektor is hoogs ontwikkel en neem deel aan die globale Kennis Ekonomie; die ander is hoofsaaklik gefokus op oorlewing met geen toegang tot die inligting infrastruktuur van die Inligtings Era nie. Die ongelykheid in vaardighede tussen die ontwikkelde en ontwikkelende gemeenskappe is die kern van die genoemde dualisme. Die ontwikkelende sektor benodig dat die vaardighede van die breë samelewing ontwikkel word ten einde hulle in staat te stel om deel te neem aan die kennis samelewing. Aan die ander kant is daar 'n behoefte by die ontwikkelde sektor om bestaande kennis oor te dra en te deel ten einde die aaneenlopende verlies aan kennis en vaardighede te bekamp. Kennisgemeenskappe as 'n bewese kennisbestuur strategie, word voorgestel as 'n gepaste metode waardeur die ontwikkeling van vaardighede en die oordrag van kennis kan plaasvind binne Suid Afrikaanse organisasies en dit word aanbeveel dat kennisgemeenskappe erken word as 'n kern element van die Nasionale Vaardigheids Ontwikkeling Strategie. Individuele en organisatoriese kennis inname/bestuur in terme van vaardigheidsontwikkeling en kennis oordrag asook die aard, struktuur, ondersteuning en waarde van kennisgemeenskappe word bespreek. Dit word gedoen ten einde 'n breë begrip daar te stel van die aard en inhoud van, en die bydrae wat kennisgemeenskappe kan maak tot Suid Afrika se deelname aan die Kennis Ekonomie te illustreer. Dit word gestel dat kennisgemeenskappe kan bydra om die dispariteit tussen die twee ekonomieë in Suid Afrika aan te spreek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/49887
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