Date of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Management of Information System and Technology, PhD


School of Information Systems and Technology

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Lorne Olfman

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Terry Ryan

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Tamir Bechor

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2011 Farnaz Barvarz Piepkorn


Community of Practice, CoP, Knowledge Management, Stage of Development

Subject Categories

Library and Information Science


This dissertation uses case study research to evaluate the impact of Information Technology (IT) on the moderator's role in directing a community of practice (CoP) in its Coalescing stage of development. Ten CoPs were studied.

While each of these CoPs is in a different stage of development, the analysis focuses on the Coalescing stage because it is considered the most critical. A detailed case study of each CoP, including a survey of moderators and members, and interviews with moderators is presented. Analysis of these cases indicated that use of IT -- defined as communication, software, and hardware tools -- has a reciprocal effect on the role of the moderator. In other words, a moderator can achieve CoP goals and conduct its activities more efficiently and effectively by use of various IT tools. A moderator's competence and inclination to using IT tools also affects his or her role and the way he or she conducts the activities and plans to achieve the CoP goals.

Those moderators who used IT tools to conduct their CoP's activities perceived their CoPs to be more successful than those who did not. Other factors such as company support, moderator's position and influence in the company, and the resources available to the CoP were the deciding factors on the moderator's role in facilitating a successful CoP. This dissertation concludes with a list of future research possibilities, obstacles to moderators, and improvement opportunities for large companies with several CoPs. All of the research studies on communities of practice so far have assumed that each company has only one CoP. This dissertation not only provides insight to a company with various CoPs, but it also offers a comparison study among different CoPs within the same company.