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
A lot of the confusion about the measurability of intellectual capital can be explained by a neglect of the difference between an object, the capital it provides, and the profit from the application of this capital. An analysis of this difference leads to the distinction between the potential of intellectual capital for economic process and its actual realization. Case studies from different areas of managerial practice show that decision making about intellectual capital considers it both in the mode of potentiality and actuality. However, the level to which the difference of modality is made explicit varies a lot. Talent management and network planning tend to minimize reflections about potentiality. This is possible because these reflections are an imp licit part of the preceding activities in the company that provide the basis for the decision situation. In intellectual property management, decision makers have more freedom to consider the further potential of the capital in question. In the applicatio n of different methods to evaluate intellectual capital, it therefore seems important to look for a strong consistency between the way how actuality and potentiality are taken into consideration by the structure of the business practice and the approach o f the method.
Keywords: theory of action, business strategies, IC management in practice, human resources, supply networks, intellectual property