Fjeldstad, Snow, Miles & Lettl (2012, p. 739) argue that collaborative communities follow a fundamental different scheme compared to traditional, more hierarchical ways of organizing and refer to it as the actor-oriented architectural scheme: „Our proposed actor-oriented scheme has three elements: (1) actors who have the capabilities and values to self-organize; (2) commons where the actors accumulate and share resources; and (3) protocols, processes, and infrastructures that enable multi-actor collaboration. Control and coordination are accomplished primarily via direct interaction among the actors themselves rather than by hierarchical subordination. Prominent examples of such emergent forms are Wikipedia or Open Source Software communities like Linux or Apache.
Research questions are:
What is the specific organization design of these communities compared to more traditional ways of organizing?
What different roles do community members play in collaborative communities and how can these roles be explained?
What factors may explain that some communities reach critical mass and others do not?