Online communities sustainability: some economic issues
AbstractNowadays a growing attention is put on community networking and community informatics, due to the role both can play in building the Information Society through the active involvement of citizens and local communities. Hence, the issue of online communities sustainability becomes more and more relevant: multiple aspects social, institutional and economical have to be jointly analyzed to understand how and if a project is really worth. In this paper we address the economic sustainability aspect, a key component still not deeply investigated. Actually, survival and growth are common themes in organizational and businesses literature since the beginning of the 60s, nevertheless, online communities only partly comply with the existing available frameworks and we are left with a panorama where communities emerge and evolve as if they were either completely bottom-up, unplanned entities or rational top down quasi-organizations. Hence, our aim is to offer a first attempt to define several theoretical propositions on economical sustainability, mainly derived from our ongoing experience and research on online communities.
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