Social norms as governance mechanisms in online professional communities

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic


Research on online professional communities has increasingly gained prominence

in management literature as organizations, entrepreneurs and professionals

implement online platforms for knowledge exchange. These communities provide a

work-related social platform for knowledge and expertise exchange to be attended

by knowledge workers, such as the employees of organizations or entrepreneurs.

One of their distinguishing features is the ability to self-organize, without using

formal rules and procedures, or an explicit hierarchy. Instead, social norms act as

alternative governance mechanisms. However, a thorough review of the literature

on the role of social norms as governance mechanisms is still lacking. We provide

an illustrative overview that answers the question how social norms govern

organization within online professional communities. We derive three social norms

- sociality (to be social to each other), support (to support each other), and sharing

(to openly share knowledge with each other) - from research on online professional

communities. We conclude by explaining how these three social norms influence

distinct organizing processes within online professional communities.
Period12 Aug 2011
Event title71st Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
Event typeLecture