Learning Across Boundaries: CoP’s in an MBA Program for Police and Air Force

By Kathleen H. Watland and William Kresse.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Organizations increasingly recognize that its most valuable asset lies in the expertise of its employees. Providing opportunities for employees to learn, share, and collaborate are essential for organizations to address the changing needs of their stakeholders.
Saint Xavier University offers an MBA program at the Chicago Police Department Education and Training Division to members of the Chicago Police Department. At the core of this arrangement were the dual missions of providing a traditional graduate management academic program, while also addressing the organizational needs of the CPD, specifically, to create a forum where participants can engage in knowledge sharing and learning opportunities. The creation of such a forum is important in most organizations, but is particularly vital in police departments, where the hierarchical, paramilitary structure can act as an impediment to knowledge sharing.
Communities of practice theory suggest that as communities evolve, members will increasingly take ownership of the content, direction, and membership. These communities freely share information and provide opportunities for members to learn from one another. Members of a community of practice suggest and introduce new topics, procedures, and structures that address organizational needs.
Saint Xavier University was contacted by the United States Air Force. The Air Force was seeking an academic program in Financial Fraud Management and Examination and were interested in sending their officers to Saint Xavier University. In particular, they requested Saint Xavier University provide opportunities for the Air Force officers to take their coursework with Chicago Police officers.
This paper explores how the communities of practice that emerged through the SXU/CPD MBA program extended to learning and knowledge sharing opportunities with the Air Force officers. Additionally, survey data from the participants provide examples of learning opportunities and insight on how educators can design curriculum to assist organizations with their important learning goals.

Keywords: MBA Curriculum Design, Organizational Learning, Communitites of Practice

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp.187-196. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 555.942KB).

Dr. Kathleen H. Watland

Assistant Professor and Program Director, Graham School of Management, Saint Xavier University, Chicago, IL, USA

Kathleen Hanold Watland is an Assistant Professor of Management in the Graham School of Management, Saint Xavier University and serves as Program Director for the Chicago Police Department MBA program. Kate earned her doctorate in Curriculum, Instruction, and Organizational Development from Loyola University. She specializes in workplace learning initiatives and employee and leadership development.

William Kresse

Assistant Professor, Graham School of Management, Saint Xavier University, Chicago, IL, USA

William J. Kresse is an Assistant Professor of Management in the Graham School of Management of Saint Xavier University where he is also the Director of Graduate Programs in Financial Fraud Examination and Management. Bill is a CPA and a Certified Fraud Examiner. Bill earned an M.S. in Accounting from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a J.D from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

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