To read this content please select one of the options below:

Grasping the business value of online communities

Zilia Iskoujina (School of Strategy and Leadership, Coventry University, Coventry, UK)
Malgorzata Ciesielska (Business School, Teesside University, Middlesbrough, UK)
Joanne Roberts (Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK)
Feng Li (Cass Business School, City, University of London, London, UK)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the definitions, dimensions, and classifications of online communities together with their potential to produce value for business. Those value options are then discussed in the context of empirical vignettes showing examples of business models focussed on one of the two potential benefits coming from online communities – clear financial gains and intangible long-run returns.


This paper uses systematic literature review method. In total, 67 academic paper in the area of business and management were chosen for the analysis.


The literature review shows multitude of online communities definitions and classifications, but hardly any comprehensive attempt to map the phenomena in full. This paper is looking into recognising potential revenue streams from online businesses and other non-financial benefits that can be combined to create strong and sustainable value proposition.


Drawing on the literature reviewed a novel categorisation of the commercial opportunities offered by the online communities is presented. These opportunities are discussed in a context of business model design.



This work was supported by the RCUK Digital Economy Programme Grant EP/G066019/1 – Social Inclusion through the Digital Economy (SiDE).


Iskoujina, Z., Ciesielska, M., Roberts, J. and Li, F. (2017), "Grasping the business value of online communities", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 396-416.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles