A Balancing Act: Governance in a Virtual P3 Community

Caroline Wiertz, Cass Business School, City University London, UK
Charla Mathwick , Portland State University, USA
Ko de Ruyter, University of Maastricht, the Netherlands
Benedict Dellaert, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands
This research explores how online communities of consumer volunteers govern themselves in the absence of contractual agreements or formal hierarchies to regulate member behavior. We propose two governance mechanisms, normative and meritocratic, that lend themselves to the organization of community forms of collaboration and explore in a netnographic study how they operate in a virtual P3 community for technical support. We find that meritocratic governance through online feedback systems leads to a community divide by creating status groups, profoundly altering the social dynamics of the community.
[ to cite ]:
Caroline Wiertz, Charla Mathwick , Ko de Ruyter, and Benedict Dellaert (2010) ,"A Balancing Act: Governance in a Virtual P3 Community", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 672-673 .