Knowledge Transfer in Open Source Communities of Practice: The Case of Azureus
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This paper discusses knowledge sharing dynamics in open source communities of practice based on an empirical study of an open source project. The paper describes how the online community in the study displayed many characteristics of an ongoing community of practice (Lave and Wenger 1991), as well as the distinct role technology and artefacts played in collaboration within the community. It is shown that while the theory of communities of practice captures many important aspects of learning and knowledge sharing in the project, it neglects the role of artefacts and the way they can contribute to these dynamics. Concepts of knowledge and knowledge transfer are discussed in order to explain aspects of these, relevant to the observations made in the study. The purpose of the paper is to offer practical and theoretical contributions to understanding distributed knowledge transfer, as well as characteristics of open source development.