Affiliated Organization

Helsinki School of Economics, Finland


The purpose of this working paper is to provide conceptual foundations for the reader interested in online communities. A useful summary of research conducted on online communities is provided in this paper. Beside several classifications for online communities, we will also pay attention to the questions why consumers belong to online communities, and what are the reasons and motives for consumers to join these communities. The different perspectives for the reasons and motives complement each other. We have proposed a valueinterest framework where several theories are combined into one, integrated model. The value-interest framework looks the motives from several perspectives simultaneously. It must be remembered, however, that beside this integrated model, it is fruitful to look at the motives and reasons from the different perspectives separately, too.