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 Projects and Studies


GOLD - Getting OnLine communities to Develop
For further information please contact:

Peter Stollenmayer
Project Supervisor
Wieblinger Weg 19/4
69123 Heidelberg, Germany

Project Information
What is this Study about?

In brief

This Study aims to further our knowledge of how communities develop, by examining communication patterns – using qualitative methods (e.g. focus groups) and others, to examine existing communication patterns and discover requirements, and to log tool use. The main deliverable provides recommendations concerning community tool use.

The main questions to be answered are:

What makes an online business community successful? How is success measured and what are the determinants of that success? And finally, is there a predictable pattern in communication tool use, and is that pattern related to either the types of relationship that exist online, or the types of information exchange that take place within and between online communities?

The scope of the Study is to further clarify the user needs examined during EURESCOM Project P902, in order to make more detailed recommendations for future community services. The focus is on already existing communities; that is, the various research teams of the TelCos involved in this Study. These are appropriate because:

  • Some of the people involved already know each other offline, and some do not – this ensures a mix of peer, federal and hierarchical relationships.
  • The information needs of research teams are diverse and numerous – this will be a rigorous test of search facilities available to the TelCos involved in the Study.
  • The communications needs of research teams are also numerous, and because of the Europe-wide location of the people involved, it is expected that both audio and video conferencing will be used at some stage, along with other asynchronous tools, and possibly application sharing and text chat.

This Study is also relevant for EURESCOM because it provides us with knowledge as to our own communication and information needs, and how these vary across countries and relationships. It helps us to determine the most economic forms of communication that can be used under any circumstance without detracting from the communication itself. It will also provide clear guidelines for community service development, which is important in the context of the global communications market.

What are the key results of this Project?

  • Further clarify the relationships between communication tool use and relationship types and stages.
  • Determine what factors inhibit or encourage the growth of online communities.
  • Make recommendations as to the types of communication and information tools that are used to best enhance and sustain online communities.
Project Results
Deliverable Title  No Planned issue date
Success Factors of Online Business Communities  D1 published January 2002
Success Factors of Online Business Communities- background information and individual reports  D2 (TI) published January 2002
Success Factors of Online Business Communities - slideshow overview ppt presentation published January 2002