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Provost Seminar Series at Bentley: 'Communities of Practice and Organizational Learning' - A Reappraisal

January 12, 2006

The 2005-2006 Provost Seminar Series at Bentley continues on March 3 with a lecture by Paul Duguid, former consultant at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and adjunct professor at the School of Information Management Systems (SIMS), University of California, Berkeley. The lecture will be held from 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. in LaCava 325 ABC, with a luncheon reception immediately following. Those interested in attending the March 3 event should RSVP to , 781.891.2471.

At the seminar, Duguid will discuss what has been learned about communities of practice, knowledge management and organizational studies in general, in the 10 years following the publication of Julian E. Orr's book, Talking about Machines: an Ethnography of a Modern Job (Cornell University Press, 1996). This anthropological study has had a remarkable influence on the way academicians and practitioners think about organizational knowledge, according to Duguid.

With an interest in multidisciplinary/collaborative work, throughout his career Duguid has worked with social and computer scientists, economists, linguists, management theorists and social psychologists. During the fall 2005 semester, he co-taught a course at SIMS, UC-Berkeley, on the "Quality of Information" that in part explored his interests in questions of authority, authenticity, and warranting of information. He is also working in what he refers to as "the not unrelated field of brand and trademark history."

From 2002-2005, Duguid was part-time visiting professor at Copenhagen Business School, Department of Organisational and Industrial Sociology. In spring 2003, he was maitre de recherché at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. From 1989 to 2001 Duguid was a consultant at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in California. Prior to that he was a member of the Institute for Research on Learning, also in Palo Alto.

Duguid's writings have appeared in a broad array of scholarly fields and journals, including anthropology, business and business history, cognitive sciences, computer science, design, education, economic history, human-computer interaction, information science, management, organization theory, and wine history. He has also written for a variety of less specialized publications, including the Times Literary Supplement, the Nation and the Threepenny Review.

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit

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