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Knowledge Sharing in Online Communities: The Power Game

Abstract : Purpose – The purpose of this paper was to gain a better understanding of the nature of online communities, the relationships within them and the relationship between such communities and the host organization. Knowledge sharing via participation in online communities is a central part of many multinational organizations’ business strategies; however, the task is not always straightforward. Design/methodology/approach – The research focused on power relationships in online communities. The approach was inductive and consisted of an exploratory case study using semi-structured interviews, augmented with direct observation and documentary sources, within a framework provided by the French sociologists Crozier and Friedberg. Findings – The findings identify the various reasons for participating in the community and aspects of both the relationships within the community and between the community and the host company. Practical implications – The research shows that online communities are not easy to categorize and that attempting to use a single solution for the management of such communities risks oversimplifying a complex situation. It also shows that Crozier and Friedberg’s framework is useful in highlighting issues that otherwise might not have been noticed. Originality/value – Issues of power are often neglected in studies of online communities. The use of Crozier and Friedberg’s framework offers a novel way to examine power relationships, which can offer new insights into how such communities function.
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Contributor : Chris Kimble <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, June 3, 2015 - 4:42:40 PM
Last modification on : Friday, February 5, 2021 - 10:10:06 AM



Isabelle Bourdon, Nathalie Tessier. Knowledge Sharing in Online Communities: The Power Game. Journal of Business Strategy, Emerald, 2015, 36 (3), pp.11 - 17. ⟨10.1108/JBS-04-2014-0044⟩. ⟨halshs-01159735⟩



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