Governance of Virtual Communities: A Literature Review and a Conceptual Framework

Publication: Research - peer-reviewArticle in proceedings – Annual report year: 2011

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Researchers have shown growing interests in the governance of virtual communities, especially in the open source software communities. Many issues concerning the governance of virtual communities have been discussed in the literature, e.g., motivations to participate and contribute, openness of participation architecture, control, open source license, ownership and appropriation of intellectual property, communication patterns, goal setting, decision-making, role of trust, etc. However, research areas in the extant literature on the governance of virtual communities are rather scattered. There has yet no systematic approach towards a clear definition of governance in virtual communities and our knowledge on what key governance mechanisms are and how they differ in various types of virtual communities is very much limited to date. A lack of holistic framework on this issue prevents scholars from fully understanding the functions of governance in virtual communities, which in turn also rends difficulties to probe the performance of virtual communities. For these reasons, the purposes of this paper is to: (1) propose a working definition of the governance in virtual communities based on the extant literature; (2) identify key governance mechanisms in virtual communities; and (3) finally develop a typology for virtual communities in which distinctive governance features prevail in each type of virtual communities.
Original languageEnglish
Title18TH INTERNATIONAL PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE proceeding
Publication date2011
StatePublished

Conference

Conference18th International Product Development Management Conference
CountryNetherlands
CityDelft
Period05/06/1107/06/11
Internet addresshttp://www.eiasm.org/frontoffice/event_announcement.asp?event_id=670

Keywords

  • user-innovation communities, Virtual communities, governance
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