Title: Roles and knowledge management in online technology communities: an ethnography study

Authors: T.R. Madanmohan, Siddhesh Navelkar

Addresses: Associate Professor (Technology & Operations), Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore 56007, India. ' Cognizant Technologies Solutions 1, 1/1 to 1/5, Silver Jubilee Block, Behind Unity Building Complex, 3rd Cross, Mission Road, Bangalore 560027, India

Abstract: The internet is a heterogeneous network of millions of computers that is continuously evolving. The interaction among people around the world on the internet has led to the formation of communities. Technical communities are groups who share a common interest in a technology. The literature on technology communities lacks a conceptual understanding of the roles of various players in the online community. An understanding of the different roles the members of the community assume at different phases, and the impact of the roles on knowledge management is crucial to manage and sustain such online technical communities. This study based on an ethnographic analysis of two technical communities, identifies seven distinct roles: core organiser, experts, problem poser, implementer, integrator, institutionaliser, and philosopher. The impact of each of the roles on knowledge management activities is discussed.

Keywords: technology communities; roles; knowledge generation; knowledge management; web-based communities.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2004.004800

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2004 Vol.1 No.1, pp.71 - 89

Published online: 28 Jun 2004 *

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