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Beware the community type: engagement and growth in core vs. open online communities
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration. Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Media, Management and Transformation Centre (MMTC).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2572-9020
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Economics. Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Media, Management and Transformation Centre (MMTC).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0722-4202
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Media, Management and Transformation Centre (MMTC).
2023 (English)In: Small Business Economics, ISSN 0921-898X, E-ISSN 1573-0913Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Entrepreneurs can benefit from the communities they build. Therefore, many entrepreneurs create online communities that allow self-selected stakeholders, such as customers, crowd investors, or enthusiasts, to interact with the venture and other like-minded individuals. However, research on how entrepreneurs can successfully engage community members and grow such online communities is only slowly emerging. In particular, it is unclear if, how much, and which content entrepreneurs should contribute to foster engagement in different types of communities and which role these community types play in the community's overall growth. Based on a longitudinal case study in the video game industry, we first theorize and show that-depending on the community type-both too much and too little entrepreneur-provided content fails to leverage community engagement potential and that different communities require more or less diverging content. We then theorize and show that community growth is largely driven by engagement in open communities, such as those hosted on social media. We outline the implications this has for entrepreneurs, our understanding of online communities, and entrepreneurial communities more generally. How can entrepreneurs engage and grow different types of online communities?Managing online communities is crucial for many entrepreneurs. However, different community types, open and core, play different roles and require different content and growth strategies. Core communities, such as those hosted on online forums, respond well to less but more diverse content, whereas open communities on social media drive overall community growth with more but less diverse content. Entrepreneurs need to find the right balance and pay attention to the tipping point of content provision, as too much content might endanger community member engagement. By understanding the dynamics of online communities, entrepreneurs can effectively nurture engagement and optimize their efforts for long-term success. Investing resources wisely in content production, considering the costs involved, can be beneficial for new ventures seeking sustainable community growth.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2023.
Keywords [en]
Online community, Brand community, Social media, Governance, User engagement, Digital entrepreneurship, M13, M15
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-62595DOI: 10.1007/s11187-023-00821-yISI: 001067574300001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85171558170OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-62595DiVA, id: diva2:1802353
Funder
Wallenberg Foundations, MMW 2018.0056Available from: 2023-10-04 Created: 2023-10-04 Last updated: 2023-10-05

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Cyron, ThomasGarz, Marcel

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