A Piece Of Cake – How Social Norms Govern Organization In The Community Of Dutch Cake Bakers

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


Recent research shows that professionals exchange knowledge via online communities. However, the question of how communities are governed in the
absence of formal regulations and hierarchies remains lingering. We propose that social norms replace traditional organizational control mechanisms. We
conducted semi‐structured interviews with members of one online community to find out which social norms prevail within their community. SNA, using
community posts for whole‐network analysis and data from interviews for ego‐network analysis, was used to learn more about informal leaders in the
community. Finally, we performed longitudinal content analysis on community posts, to see how members enacted the social norms. We found that the norms
support, sociality, knowledge sharing, and structure governed this particular community. Furthermore, there was a strong understanding about leadership,
although no explicit hierarchy was installed. Within the core community two groups could be distinguished: artists, who featured a high in‐degree centrality;
and experts, who featured a high out‐degree centrality. Finally, social norms not only governed community organization, but also served to protect community
knowledge. Findings are important for online communities, as they show that efficiency and order is more important to communities than previously assumed.
They point out research directions concerning possibilities for entrepreneurs who seek knowledge in a potentially global network.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of International Sunbelt XXXI Social Network Conference
Place of PublicationSt. Pete's Beach
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventInternational Sunbelt XXXI Social Network Conference - St. Pete's Beach
Duration: 8 Feb 201113 Feb 2011


ConferenceInternational Sunbelt XXXI Social Network Conference


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