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Virtual communities of practice for regional small businesses: bringing informal networks online

Mason, Cecily, Castleman, Tanya and Parker, Craig 2006, Virtual communities of practice for regional small businesses: bringing informal networks online, in 19th Bled eConference eValues Conference Proceedings, University of Maribor, Kranj, Slovenia, pp. 1-14.

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Title Virtual communities of practice for regional small businesses: bringing informal networks online
Author(s) Mason, Cecily
Castleman, Tanya
Parker, Craig
Conference name Bled eConference eValues Conference (19th: 2006: Bled, Slovenia)
Conference location Bled, Slovenia
Conference dates 5-7 June 2006
Title of proceedings 19th Bled eConference eValues Conference Proceedings
Editor(s) Walden, Pirko
Markus, M.Lynne
Gricar, Joze
Publication date 2006
Conference series Bled eConference
Start page 1
End page 14
Publisher University of Maribor
Place of publication Kranj, Slovenia
Summary Virtual communities of practice (VCoPs) are online business networks which are increasingly used by large organisations as a key strategy for creating value in the knowledge-based economy of the 21st Century.This paper examines the applicability of VCoPs to cross-industry regionally clustered small business networks. Interviews conducted with government and industry informants in two regional areas of Australia indicate that these strategies used for establishing VCoPs are applicable to such small business networks. Both regions had regional networks with active member involvement displaying CoP characteristics. Significant social capital existed on which VCoPs could be built, and there were viable alternatives to satisfy the roles of sponsors and leaders. There were, however, significant impediments that will have to be addressed before VCoPs can be  implemented such as the apparent reluctance of many SME owners to use the Internet and ICT generally, and the preference for informal networking. Funding to ensure that VCoPs are sustainable was also an issue. VCoPs appear to be extremely useful in linking small businesses in regional areas and in the development of viable regional clusters.
Notes Reproduced with the specific permission of the copyright owner.
Language eng
Field of Research 150314 Small Business Management
HERDC Research category E1 Full written paper - refereed
Copyright notice ©2006, University of Maribor
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30005941

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.