Knowledge management in SMEs: the role of family in Communities of Practice

Ugo Lassini*

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroContributo a convegno


This paper focuses on entrepreneurial learning in the context of family SMEs. Although this is an important area of research, it remains relatively undeveloped in the context of family SMEs, which are characterized by specific process of learning and change. Our study draws on concepts of communities of practice (CoP) and legitimate peripheral participation derived from Lave and Wenger’s (1991) situated-learning perspective. This framework represents the theoretical lenses we use to investigate the relationship between family’s role and learning through an interpretive and inductive analysis of three case studies. Altought the past 15 years have witnessed an increase in the study of the concept of CoPs, little is known about the family role in enhancing or inhibiting entrepreneurial learning whithin the context of CoPs in family SMEs. Our findings documents that some family characteristics have a clear impact on entrepreneurial learning process and outcome. Specifically, the study provides two empirical contributions to the existing frame: 1) the family’s role inside the CoPs’ entrepreneurial learning process; 2) the family’s role in shaping both the entrepreneurial learning type (explorative or explitative) and the speed of learning (quick or slow) and execution processes by instilling pressure in the social context throughout the CoP. Specifically, some family characteristics influencing the CoP entrepreneurial learning emerge and our case studies provide insights into the nature of this influence. In addition, the family plays a central role in determining the degree of openness, rather than closeness, of the social context in which knowledge creating and sharing occur. In an open social context, members are more willing to take into account incoming ideas and proposals and are available to debate them in a constructive way. Conversely, in a closed social context members prefer to stay linked to the leader’s dominant ideas with little motivation to consider new proposals.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteAtti di convegno
Numero di pagine11
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2018
Evento9th International Research Meeting in Business and Management (IRMBAM-2018) - IPAG Business School, Nice Campus, France
Durata: 5 lug 20187 lug 2018


Convegno9th International Research Meeting in Business and Management (IRMBAM-2018)
CittàIPAG Business School, Nice Campus, France


  • Communities of Practice
  • Knowledge management


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