Snyder, William M. 1956-

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SNYDER, William M. 1956-

PERSONAL: Born 1956.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Harvard Business School Press, 60 Harvard Way, Boston, MA 02163.

CAREER: Founding partner of Social Capital Group (research and consulting firm), Cambridge, MA.


(With Etienne Wenger and Richard McDermott) Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge, Harvard Business School Press (Boston, MA), 2002.

SIDELIGHTS: William M. Snyder's Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge provides the reader with a systematic method of converting organizational knowledge into economic matter. Snyder and coauthors Etienne Wenger and Richard McDermott are leading experts in their fields and present their argument through examples and research drawing upon companies such as Daimler-Chrysler, Shell, and the World Bank. They detail how such companies have managed to attract and retain talented individuals, develop new business opportunities, formulate strategy, pursue best practices, and problem solve by fostering the development of communities of practice within their companies.

Salient features of a community of practice include meeting regularly, sharing a common area of interest and a methodology for approaching and advancing that interest. In her review of Snyder's book for Training & Development, Amy Newman noted that "Although some of the concepts and structures presented are more complex than necessary . . . the book is inspiring—and daunting." She further commented that finding the correct amount of balance between control and freedom within an organization that allows such a community to exist is vital to its success. The book ends on an open note with many questions that still need to be addressed as these communities grow and mature.



Intelligent Enterprise, April 16, 2002, review of Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge, p. 63.

Training & Development, February, 2002, Amy Newman, review of Cultivating Communities of Practice, p. 83.*