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What Can Reverse Mentoring Relationships Contribute to Communities of Practice involving Developed and Rising Economies?

What Can Reverse Mentoring Relationships Contribute to Communities of Practice involving Developed and Rising Economies?
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Author(s): Annette H. Dunham (Deakin University, Australia) and Madeleine Ross (Deakin University, Australia)
Copyright: 2016
Pages: 24
Source title: Organizational Knowledge Facilitation through Communities of Practice in Emerging Markets
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Sheryl Buckley (University of South Africa, South Africa), Grzegorz Majewski (University of the West of Scotland, UK) and Apostolos Giannakopoulos (University of South Africa, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0013-1.ch004



Communities of practice have been proposed as effective means of building cooperative knowledge sharing relationships between locals and experts from emerging and developed economies (including divisions within some multinational companies). Mentoring relationships in general have been found to support the work of communities of practice. Reverse mentoring relationships are the reverse to what is traditionally expected of a mentoring relationship; they involve the mentoring of a mature or more experienced employee by a younger or generally less experienced employee, but also have the potential to offer much to communities of practice. In the context of communities of practice involving developed and emerging economies, reverse mentoring relationships have the potential to facilitate nationals' (the reverse mentors) sharing of local knowledge while at the same time providing them with leadership development courtesy of the developed country's representative(s) (the reverse mentee(s)), a winning solution for communities of practice and multinational companies. This chapter outlines the benefits of reverse mentoring relationships for communities of practice, and identifies some potential challenges for these partnerships. The implications of these for managers and practitioners are outlined. An agenda for research into reverse mentoring arrangements will complete this chapter. The aim of the chapter is to show how reverse mentoring relationships can complement the work of communities of practice in fostering co-operative knowledge sharing between those in developed and emerging economies.

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