The modern information technique has made it possible to introduce virtual communities. These can appear in different shapes and with widely different purposes. It is a common interest that inspires members to form a virtual community. Some communities are most successful and their members experience an added value through the interaction in the community, whereas other communities are less successful. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the process of knowledge creation in virtual communities. This process is analyzed seeing the virtual community as a human activity system. One important aspect found in the analysis is that Customers, Actors and Owners consist of the same group of participants in virtual communities, that is their members. The process of creating knowledge is illuminated from different perspectives. The information processing of the individuals in the community that results in knowledge of the individual members is described (intrapersonal communication). The interaction in the community is also analyzed using social constructivist theories that look at the community using a holistic perspective (interpersonal and group communication). Knowledge creation in a virtual community is illustrated using a model. The paper also includes a short discussion of the forces that keep the community together and fosters its development. The role of the computer system in the virtual community is also discussed.
Keywords: Virtual community, knowledge creation, learning, social constructivism, computer mediated communication, human information processing