University of Leicester
YipSDSocSci2015.pdf (1.76 MB)

Architecture as profession: the construction of workplace practice

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posted on 2015-07-09, 09:19 authored by Shing Lam Yip
With reference to Jean Lave’s and Etienne Wenger’s (1991) learning theory and its later development in advocating Communities of Practice (CoPs), this research aimed to explore how architects learn through participation in CoPs in the construction of workplace practice. It is has been identified that the Development and Construction Division of the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) characterizes a social practice, in which the situated nature of architects’ learning is realized through accomplishments amongst professional stakeholders who engage jointly in an enterprise with shared repertoire (Wenger 1998, p. 36) where the Project Development Process is central. Architects’ minds develop, reflect and interact mutually in social situations in which groups of professionals share their concerns or passions for knowledge of architecture and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly (Wenger 2007) in multiple CoPs. A qualitative methodological approach was adopted, involving semi‐structured interviews using a purposeful sample of architects. Saturation analysis was used to identify patterns in the data. Based on the findings, it is evident that architects participate in various CoPs to learn and, through multi‐membership, they negotiate their individual meanings of professional practice. As well, the dynamism coupled with different modes of belonging under CoPs (Wenger 2000) form the major structuring elements of architect’s social learning system in the HA. This research makes the original contribution of a lens, based on the social practice theory of Lave and Wenger (1991) and Wenger’s CoP (1998) concept to understand how architects learn in the workplace practice for knowledge generation and management.



James, Nalita; Goodwin, John

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Management

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DSocSci



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