Communications par thème > Nouvelles pratiques stratégiques

Transferring knowledge in the Project Management Communities of Practice: The case of the PMBOK Guide

**The evolution of the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide as a standard artefact in the project management profession played an important role in the emergence and progressive formation of diverse project management communities of practice. The project management institute (PMI) instigated such development through a strategy which replicated its chapters (communities of practice) worldwide. In this case study we undertake a qualitative investigation using existing versions of the PMBOK Guide and the PMI website content as data, in an attempt to identify how the PMBOK evolved and what role it played in the communities of practice using a sociomaterial perspective (Orlikowski and Scott, 2008). Our findings suggest that as communities of practice proliferated, they played a determinant role in transferring and internalising knowledge to the PMBOK Guide and other foundational standards of the PMI. Concurrently, they also contributed significantly to its development and institutionalization as a legitimate standard for the project management profession. We explain such proliferation and the spread of PMI chapters worldwide by using the theoretical notions of “Template” and “Arrow core” linked to strategy as replication (Winter and Szulanski, 2001). Our empirical results suggest that the relationship between the PMBOK Guide and the communities of practice is one of mutual constitution and co-evolution, and fits the metaphor of imbrication (Leonardi et al, 2012). This imbricated relationship enabled bi-directional knowledge transfer cycles to occur in a process which alternates between exploration and exploitation, thus enabling both the evolution of the artefact and that of communities of practice.