This paper explains and discusses the outcomes from an action research study into on-line participation. Two, often countervailing notions of rationality are examined, firstly by deconstructing individually held, subjective constructs of trust and power and, secondly, by examining collectivist assumptions regarding the formation of online communities. We contest assumptions from the literatures, which over emphasise the importance of IT in ‘constructing’ online communities, stemming from the adoption of a wholly rationalist view of the human participants – as pursuers of knowledge, regulated and directed by rational principles.