Diversity among Enterprise Online Communities: Collaborating, Teaming, and Innovating through Social Media

Picture of Michael Muller
Michael Muller
Picture of Kate Ehrlich
Kate Ehrlich
Picture of Tara Matthews
Tara Matthews
Picture of Inbal Ronen
Inbal Ronen
Picture of Ido Guy
Ido Guy
Teaser image


There is a growing body of research into the adoption and use of social software in enterprises. However, less is known about how groups, such as communities, use and appropriate these technologies, and the implications for community structures. In a study of 188 very active online enterprise communities, we found systematic differences in size, demographics and participation, aligned with differences in community types. Different types of communities differed in their appropriation of social software tools to create and use shared resources, and build relationships. We propose implications for design of community support features, services for potential community members, and organizations looking to derive value from online groups.