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Communities of practice are developed as a means of sharing and perpetuating organizational learning. While the literature is filled with individual studies that focus on knowledge management, organizational learning, communities of practice, and Six Sigma outcomes, it does not illustrate the inherent relationship between these thoughts and practices. This study explored the factors that lead to the development of a community of practice among knowledge workers such as Six Sigma practitioners. This case study illustrates the importance of Bandura’s theory of social learning within the paradigm of a community of practice. This research illustrates the overwhelming influence of experiential learning in communities that have dynamic and complex relationships. The case study organization yielded 15 individuals who participated in in-depth interviews. Each practitioner shared his or her individual thoughts, perspectives, and experiences while utilizing the standard interview protocol. The results of this case study concretely promote the involvement of senior leadership in the development of the Six Sigma infrastructure, the importance of there being a commitment to the practitioner, the need for a formal infrastructure to be in place prior to implementing the management model, that formal education must take place, resources must be in place, and there needs to be a means for developing and sharing best practice models. This study suggested that future work is needed in two areas: What happens when organizations forget to learn and what is the impact of organizational leadership changes and changes in organizational strategies within an existing community of practice?

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College of Business


Community-Based Learning

Factors that Influence Practitioners Trained in Six Sigma Principles in the Development of a Community of Practice