Working Paper BETA #2006-14

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Title : How does leadership support the activity of communities of practice ?

Author(s) : Paul Muller

Abstract : the purpose of this paper is to present leadership as an important mechanism underlying the coordination and the cohesion of communities of practice. More precisely, it will be shown that an important factor conditioning the coordination and the cohesion of a community rests on the leaders’ capacity to influence individual behaviors. This capacity of influence is grounded on the high degrees of reputation and trust they enjoy within the community. However, coordination of individual behaviors is not ensured by the mere existence of leadership. A simulation model points out the conditions under which leadership forms an efficient coordinating device.

Key-words : communities of practice, leadership, reputation, exit, loyalty, coordination, social simulation.

JEL Classification : L23, D23.