Practice based studies have provided rich descriptions of knowledge dynamics. On the other hand, they led to conceptualizations that question the possibility to view knowledge as a resource that can be oriented and shaped by managers. From this perspective, questions such as why an existing community has developed, or how to enable the emergence of a new community, are still unanswered. Such weaknesses are rooted in a tendency to ignore the cognitive motivations (theories) that lead actors to behave in a particular way. As a consequence, we propose that social practice can be explained as the outcome of interlocking cognitive theories and, moreover, that to shape practice, we need to act on theories.
Keywords: communities of practice, situated learning, cognition, knowledge management, organizational learning, theory of action