Affiliated Organization

University of Amsterdam, Netherlands


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to provide insight in the decision-making of organizations deciding whether or not to initiate and employ a virtual community of consumption by examining the potential values and value impediments for community organizers.Design/methodology/approach: By adopting a value creation approach, we identify from the extant literature the values that communities of consumption can provide for both participants and organizers. We then formulate three main theoretical propositions on the impediments to the creation and appropriation of these values for organizations and exploratively test the external validity of these value impediments in an exploratory case study in the Dutch travel industry, as an exemplar industry that would be pre-eminently fit to take advantage of the commercial opportunities of communities of consumption.Findings: Travel organizations in our case study are aware of the potential values that communities of consumption could provide, but are unwilling and expect to be limitedly able to realize and appropriate these values. They identify various value impediments related to our basic propositions that add up to a reluctance to initiate a community of consumption.Value/originality: Whereas the extant economic literature on communities of consumption highlights the potential values for either participants or organizers, we combine both. Furthermore, we highlight the existence of potential impediments to value creation for community organizers instead of adding to the ill-founded optimism in the literature.