The globalized community of practice
Brown, Carol Ann Stax
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Since the 1990s, the pace of globalization has increased exponentially due to information and communication technology (ICT), more specifically to the Internet. While access to the Internet is not universal, it is spreading, providing connectivity among people who, even a decade ago, would have never had the opportunity to participate in such far-reaching virtual conversations. The convergence of these changes that is creating a new realm of learning organizations: global virtual communities of practice. The purpose of this phenomenological case study was to examine the impact of globalization on a virtual community of practice using Lave and Wenger’s Communities of Practice model (1991). The specific case for this study is the InterCultural Training Experience (ICTE) of the Melton Foundation, a U.S. based foundation that is devoted to cross cultural understanding and the development of social capital. Each year approximately thirty participants are selected from five member universities on different continents to participate in a three-month online orientation program. This training period is the first step in becoming a Melton Fellow, which is a life-long commitment to membership in a global network that supports projects that promote the values of the foundation.