Electronic Commerce Research

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 21–37 | Cite as

Power relations in virtual communities: An ethnographic study

  • Lemai Nguyen
  • Luba Torlina
  • Konrad Peszynski
  • Brian Corbitt
Article

Abstract

Peoples' need to socialize with others and greed for power can be best captured with Aristotle's description of human beings as “political animals”/“social animals.” This paper reports on observations of how cyber communities, such as Web-based forums and mailing lists, manifest themselves through social interactions and shared values, membership and friendship, and commitments and loyalty. The paper highlights the importance of power relations in these communities, how they are formed, exercised and evolve. This paper explores power relations as they emerge in two online Vietnamese communities and suggests a new understanding of the formation and evolution of power in virtual societies.

Keywords

Power relations Virtual community Knowledge management National culture 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lemai Nguyen
    • 1
  • Luba Torlina
    • 1
  • Konrad Peszynski
    • 2
  • Brian Corbitt
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Information SystemsDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia
  2. 2.GS1 AustraliaMt Waverley
  3. 3.School of Business Information TechnologyRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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