Dear Bureaucrat, Where is my tribe?

Dear Bureaucrat,

I know there’s somebody in every agency doing the exact same work I do, but I don’t know them. I’d like to see if other people have better ways to do the job, and I wouldn’t mind sharing (showing off) some solutions I’ve worked out. I found an online group for people who do the same work as me, but there hadn’t been any postings to it for years, and when I posted introducing myself nobody replied. I could put in the effort to try to find people doing my job in other agencies and build community, but I don’t want to waste my time if people aren’t going to participate. What makes a professional community work?

Vox Clamantis in Deserto

Dear Vox,

The abandoned online group you found is not unusual. There is lots of free and easy-to-use technology for groups, ranging from old fashioned email lists to social media. But if members don’t post questions and information that others are interested in, then the community fades into inactivity. Go ahead with your impulse to revive your professional community. There are some research findings that can help you make it a success.

Binz-Scharf, Lazer and Mergel examined why public sector workers do or don’t participate in a network of practice. They found that… Read the rest in Federal Times

Author: David S. Reed

David S. Reed is a public administration expert, founder of Center for Public Administrators, and a civil servant.

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