Conflicts and online community social capital: the influence of conflict management practices

Olivier Sibai, Kristine De Valck, John Rudd, Andrew Farrell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


Conflicts are part and parcel of online community dynamics (De Valck 2007; Harrison and Jenkins 1996; Kozinets 2001) – from flames about publishing inappropriate content (De Zwart and Lindsay 2009) to battles to win high status positions (Campbell, Fletcher and Greenhill 2009) and stigmatization of illegitimate insiders (Tikkanen, Hietanen, Henttonen, and Rokka 2009) up to bashing and smearing campaigns (Bocij 2002). As the concept of community presumes unity, marketers may be inclined to suppress any dissonance in their online brand communities thinking that it may hurt brand image or community attractiveness.

However, Fournier and Lee (2009) advise marketers to embrace the conflicts that make communities thrive. As tensions and conflict cannot be avoided this seems logical advice. Nevertheless, are all tensions and conflicts created equally? Are some not more constructive (or destructive) than others? Thus, should all tensions and conflicts really be embraced, and what can be done to channel tensions and conflicts such that they do not become destructive? These questions form the starting point of this paper.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication7th Consumer Culture Theory (CCT) Conference
Place of PublicationOxford
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


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