Membership overlap and inter-community collaboration

Yongsuk Kim, Sirkka Jarvenpaa, Bin Gu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Organization-bounded online communities compete as well as collaborate regarding valued member resources. Membership overlap creates competition amongst communities because their overlapping members must choose where to allocate their limited time. But members also collaborate across communities in inter-community discussion threads to tackle common problems together. This paper examines how membership overlap across communities and inter-community collaboration individually and jointly affect community responsiveness, or the level of participation in a discussion thread. We analyzed a panel data of 155 online communities internal to a global company with 2,103 community-month observations. Preliminary findings show that communities with low membership overlap enjoy higher responsiveness than communities with many overlapping members, but the latter communities can significantly improve responsiveness by seeking broad inter-community collaboration on shared threads. We explain community responsiveness by the participants' desire to maintain an optimal balance between the need to be similar and the need to be different.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2012
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012
EventInternational Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2012 - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: Dec 16 2012Dec 19 2012

Publication series

NameInternational Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2012


OtherInternational Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando, FL


  • Identity
  • Inter-community collaboration
  • Inter-community competition
  • Membership overlap
  • Online communities
  • Optimal distinctiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Library and Information Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Membership overlap and inter-community collaboration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this