The communities of practice level of analysis allows to consider the (more or less) informal inter-individual relations and interactions through which people as communities of practice develop and share knowledge, competences and innovation.
This shared repertoire provides individuals and organisations with resources to cope with an increasingly complex and fast changing world. The community of practice approach has been mainly used in the fields of education, business management and communication studies – and in the two latter cases, the research focus includes for instance innovation processes in online newsrooms, creativity in the video game industry and the management of communities of practice in the telecommunication industry. This approach also has important implications for cluster analysis, although this importance has been underestimated so far: communities of practice are social and communicational environments that foster learning within / across clusters, thereby making them more dynamic, innovative and attractive work environments. Thus in the context of this project, communities of practice research will enrich our approach to cluster analysis.