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Community Governance Mechanisms Research Assignment (Essay Sample)

Instructions:

Information Systems and Management – 2017
It should be 2,000 words long (+/- 10%) and should use APA style Referencing and citations (Author, Year). it should base its argument on relevant and up-to-date academic literature (preferably journal articles) to illustrate key arguments where possible.
Essay Topic
Online user communities provide a valuable source of information in the development of new products. Studies have found that community governance can have a significant impact on knowledge sharing and collective learning, leading firms to evaluate how they manage their own user communities. Discuss two governance mechanisms firms can use in order to increase knowledge exchange in online user communities and their implication in terms of knowledge acquisition.

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Content:

Online User Communities and Governance Mechanisms
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Many scholars have stressed the importance of knowledge mobilization within a user community, which includes knowledge creation, sharing and reuse. Recent organizational literatures are also emphasizing on effective management of knowledge mobilization, emerging as a crucial component for business innovation and establishment. This essay opens discussion with these two areas of concern. In doing so, this paper particularly gives emphasize on online user communities involved in open source projects as these kind of projects offer highest freedom of communication, user-specific free knowledge sharing and prioritization of products. New age online business giants are also using open participation of user communities to systematically arrange and upgrade their own organizational knowledge database. Thus, this essay gives insights to such online business models and their adoption of knowledge governance strategies to effectively manage user-created knowledge acquisition.
Virtual User Communities: The E-Associates
User Communities are characterized by individual groups using similar kind of products and learning to use them superiorly by regular interactions CITATION Wenger \l 1033 (Wenger, 1998). These user groups with a common purpose offer advantages for their affiliates through the exchange of — ideas, appreciation and feelings — with each other. As one can rightly assume while searching for a product-related solution, individuals save hours by entering into public network and accessing its file-database CITATION Hippel2005 \l 1033 (Hippel, 2005).
Rapid internet espousal has significantly stimulated the global recognition of active virtual communities. Remarkably, active virtual groups symbolizes an important swing from the conventional read-only Websites to an user centric, interactive, closely-knitted, participatory, activity based, appealing, new age web-platforms, technically termed as Web 2.0 (i.e., social
media). According to recent Alexa ranking, Wikipedia and Facebook CITATION Alexa \l 1033 (Alexa, 2017) are among the top ten global sites which attract the most user traffic on the Internet. Community building and user contribution are the two prominent factors on which these websites are based on.
Tim O’Reilly specified the symptoms of these new wave of web-platforms, namely: Google AdSense, BitTorrent, Flickr, Napster, Blogs, Wikipedia, Upcoming.Org, Search Engine Optimization, Cost Per Click, Participation, Web Services, Wikis, Tagging and Syndication CITATION OReilly2005 \l 1033 (O’Reilly, 2005). Some common characteristics of all these new generation web features are user participation, openness and network effects. Features like user involvement form the basis of the new age socially interactive version of the web. The collective, cooperative, democratic approach of sharing enterprising ideas of online communities is attracting the major attempt of recent e-commerce developments.
By speedily disseminating information, consumer groups as user communities practice a commanding impact on business market CITATION Prahalad_Ramaswamy \l 1033 (Ramaswamy, 2000). As an example, closely connected, networked consumer communities can imperatively prove to be vital for the espousal and circulation of knowledge and innovations. Business models following open and distributed innovation process can purposively use these socially interactive virtual user communities as a source of external ideas CITATION Chesbrough \l 1033 (Chesbrough, 2006). Businesses can systematize and prioritize huge user knowledge data concerning their requirements, response to already marketed products along with suggestions for upcoming products. Numerous studies have revealed that incorporation of such user-generated knowledge has contributed considerably to product improvement CITATION LBJ06 \l 1033 (Frederiksen, 2006) CITATION Prugl2006 \l 1033 (Schreier, 2006)
The Process of Knowledge Mobilization
Knowledge mobilization process within a community, the diffusion/broadcast and possession/attainment of knowledge (implicit and disposed: tacit and codified) is happened to be complicated as well as expensive; and this is the primary principle on basis of which user communities survive. Polyani coined the terminology of ‘tacit/ implicit knowledge’ to propose that expression of individuals, often unaware of the knowledge they possess, cannot always equates to what they know CITATION Polyani1966 \l 1033 (Polyani, 1966). Thus, unlike codified/explicit knowledge, there remains a chance that tacit knowledge goes unnoticed/ ignored for its inherent not-communicated, un-expressed, un-recorded and un-transferable nature CITATION Cowan_Davis_Foray \l 1033 (Cowan, Davis, & Foray, 2000) CITATION Foray2004 \l 1033 (Foray, 2004).
However, user communities motivate members to share this tacit as well as codified knowledge by regular and timely communications. Access to the prospective knowledge hub within networked communities can radically trim down the considerable investment/ economic risks a business has to incur while launching new products CITATION Hippel2005 \l 1033 (Hippel, 2005).
Individual members, spending free hours frequently with a community support, breed innovations, build up models, estimate designs and play on each others’ contribution — make signature contributions to product developments which a business can seriously consider as a part of their future product evolution CITATION LBJ06 \l 1033 (Frederiksen, 2006). Enterprising ideas coming from external sources (user communities) can save a lot from product development expenditure. Additional benefits can also be assumed in terms of new product launch risks. Usually communities, using similar kind of products, construct the potential market of a business network. Thus, new/improved product ideas coming from a those communities, primarily emerge from their genuine requirements, difficulties or preferences — and incorporating those ideas in different stages of product development decrease the threat of product failure.
Community Governance: An Introspection
In user communities, frequent cognitive exchanges promote the formation of common knowledge societies and general collective norms CITATION Cohendet2006 \l 1033 (Cohendet, 2006). In order to permit helper communities to manage their participation to facilitate the sharing of blueprint and developmental appropriation of a service or product, open source projects often involve some basic governance/ controlling factors. Open source community members — being the donor and the receiver of governance, the subject and object of governance — are self-governed. Collective ideas and goods, produced by user communities, preside over t...
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