Published in Communication, Relationships and Practices in Virtual Work, ISBN 9781615209798, January 1, 2010, pages 161-176.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author David Askay was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
Sense of virtual community (feelings of identity, belonging, and attachment) is an essential component of virtual communities. In this chapter, we develop a model of how sense of virtual community develops in professional virtual communities. Based on sense of virtual community models in social virtual communities, we expect that the exchange of support, development of a group identity, and group norms will lead to a stronger professional sense of virtual community. Unlike social virtual communities, we also predict that employee/members occupational identification will increase professional sense of virtual community, particularly when the virtual community can provide support and information not available in the employee/member’s face-to-face life. Finally, we propose that increased occupational commitment, professional networks, and employee performance are outcomes of sense of virtual community in professional virtual communities.