Building a Community based Alliance: A Communities of Practice Perspective from Ireland

Simon Stephens, Isobel Cunningham, Christopher McLaughlin

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Community organizations work on the frontline supported by local authorities, development agencies and higher education institutions. However, their actions have been curtailed by a reduction in funding over the last ten years and there is evidence of underlying structural challenges. The high levels of small community decline challenge us to develop new insights into the causes of failure and develop innovative approaches to growth. In this article, we adopt a communities of practice perspective to explore the formation of a community-based alliance in Ireland. Data were collected during a series of focus groups with community stakeholders. We argue that intense collaboration that cuts across institutional domains is required. Therefore, community-based alliances should form a key part of rural (re)development by providing opportunities for knowledge sharing, peer learning and mutual support. We propose a conceptual framework that illustrates the benefits of a structured and coordinated approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-237
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Technology Management and Sustainable Development
Issue number3
Early online date8 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished online - 8 Nov 2021


  • community of practice
  • social enterprise
  • networks
  • knowledge transfer
  • ireland


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