SAT: Study Of The Use of Closed Facebook Groups (CFGs) By Standards Professionals And The Presence Of Community (Glenn Bosmans)

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Glenn Bosmans
20 January 2019

The overall purpose of the study is to assess standards professionals’ interaction with, and attitude towards, the CFGs e.g. how often and how do they access them- This would inform possible areas of improvement and development of the CFGs.

The second theme gathered evidence of the presence of a community of practice and an epistemic community among the members.

A community of practice (CoP) is a “group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly*. The essential elements of a CoP are those of domain community and practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991).

An epistemic community is defined as a group of professionals, often from a variety of different disciplines, which produce policy-relevant knowledge about complex technical issues (Haas, 1992). The essential elements of an epistemic community being shared beliefs, shared causal beliefs, shared beliefs of validity and shared a set of common practices associated with a set of problems to which their professional competence is directed.

Members of eight regional Closed Facebook Groups were surveyed. The members are all members of national, regional or international standardization organisations or work fields related to standardization from developing countries across the globe.

An online survey using Google Docs template was developed and distributed to the members using the discussion and messaging features within the Closed Facebook Groups.

The survey comprised 7 sections. Your background, Interaction with Closed Facebook Groups, Posting to the CFGs, Online Communities Part 1, Online Communities Part 2 and Final Thoughts. A total of 44 questions were asked.

Responses to date indicate that almost all respondents access Facebook and many access the CFGs on a daily basis. Three quarters have posted an item onto the CFGs themselves and all have ‘liked’ a comment. The machine translations of posts are considered accurate. 93% of respondents prefer the posts to be in the English language.

Responses from the questions regarding the presence of communities indicate that the elements identified are present.

Brief summary of your interpretations and conclusions

To date the responses to the survey have been low (only 16) and they are a self-selecting group from among the members of the CFGs.

The responses, including the open statements indicate that the members are benefitting and learning from the CFGs. However, the level of interactivity among members could be improved.

The responses indicate the presence of both a community of practice and an epistemic community. Further research is necessary to assess the effectiveness of the communities and what impact their presence has on the field of standardization.

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