Schofield, Keith (2010) An Ethnographic Exploration of Communities of Practice: Participating to Earn a Bonus. In: 2010 QMiP Conference, 23 Aug 2010 - 25 Aug 2010, University of Nottingham, UK.

The research to be presented is based on data from a debt collection agency, I propose that this workplace is a community of practice and that its employees, the debt collectors, are required to participate successfully in the practices of the community to maximise the collection of the organisation’s debt portfolio. These practices, that enable the successful collection of debt, are not ones that can necessarily be trained in a classroom as the knowledge required to succeed in this community is constructed, shaped and defined by those who participate in it.
To gain access to the people that construct the knowledge within this community an ethnographic methodology was employed which allowed the collection of data in the actual contexts of debt collection in order that the practices which construct collector participation could emerge. This paper will discuss the motivations, priorities and perceptions of the collectors as well as identifying and examining the structures that are in place to successfully enable newcomers into the community to become full participants through the process of legitimate peripheral participation.

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