Wenger présente de façon générale ce qu’est une CoP sur son site.
Définition d’après Wenger, McDermott and Snyder (2002) page 4-5 :
« Community of practice are groups of people who share a concern, a set of problem, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis. …These people don’t necessarily work together every day, but they may meet because they find value in their interactions. As they spend time together, they typically share information, insight and advice. They help each other solve problems. They discuss their situations, their aspirations, and their needs. They ponder common issues, explore ideas, and act as sounding boards. They may create tools, standards, generic designs, manuals, and other documents – or they may simply develop a tacit understanding that they share. However they accumulate knowledge, they become informally bound by the value that they find in learning together. This value is not merely instrumental for their work. It also accrues in the personal satisfaction of knowing colleagues who understand each other’s perspectives and of belonging to an interesting group of people. Overtime, they develop a unique perspective on their topic as well as a body of common knowledge, practices, and approaches. They also develop personal relationships and established ways of interacting. They may even develop a common sense of identity. They become a community of practice. »