This paper explores the emergence of Machiavellian behaviours in a Community of Practice (CoP). The CoP was initiated by the top management team (TMT) as a management development initiative. Participants in a manufacturing setting were encouraged to engage in a series of problem solving tasks with counterparts from across the organisation in a short-term CoP. A qualitative case study, using in-depth interviews, was conducted in a large processing plant in the Middle Eastern Kingdom of Bahrain. This is an empirical case study that explores employee participation in a short-term management development programme which sought to create CoPs to enable knowledge sharing. A competitive element was introduced, and we contend this promoted behaviours which served the individuals rather than the CoP. The findings indicate that TMT intervention change the dynamics of CoPs, reducing knowledge sharing and collaboration among community members. Recommendations are made to practitioners to be cognisant of the possibility of Machiavellian participation in CoPs.
Bibliographical noteThis is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Schofield, K. , Analoui, B. , Brooks, J. and Hussain, S. F. (2018), Competitive communities of practice, knowledge sharing, and Machiavellian participation: a case study. International Journal of Training and Development, 22: 210-221, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/ijtd.12129. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Schofield, K., Analoui, B., Brooks, J., & Hussain, S. F. (2018). Competitive communities of practice, knowledge sharing, and Machiavellian participation: a case study. International Journal of Training and Development, 22(3), 210-221. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijtd.12129