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Journal Article

Knowledge Cooperation in Online Communities: a Duality of Participation and Cultivation  pp1-6

Marco C. Bettoni, Silvio Andenmatten, Ronny Mathieu

© Mar 2007 Volume 5 Issue 1, ECKM 2006, Editor: Charles Despres, pp1 - 130

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This paper is an attempt to answer the question "How to design for engagement in community‑oriented knowledge management?" In order to do this we need an approach that has its primary focus on distinguishing, balancing, connecting and negotiating between knowledge in its two fundamental dimensions: individual and social. The concept of "knowledge cooperation" that we have defined as the participative cultivation of knowledge in a voluntary, informal social group", is our proposal for fulfilling the previously mentioned requirements. After introducing this definition of "knowledge cooperation" with its background in community‑oriented knowledge management, we will explain and give reasons for its constitutive elements and their unique combination in our approach. On this basis we will then describe the two coupled learning loops (participation and cultivation) which in our conception characterise the dynamics of knowledge cooperation and argue for the importance of looking at participation and cultivation as an interacting duality. Our main message is that the duality of participation and cultivation that constitutes our model of knowledge cooperation allows us both a better understanding of knowledge processes in an online community and to design active, dynamic, healthy communities where cultivating knowledge and participation in cultivating that knowledge mutually activates and sustains each other.


Keywords: online communities, community-oriented knowledge management, participation, cultivation, knowledge cooperation, communities of practice


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