Amidst constant innovation in information and communication technologies, a new pattern of work is emerging. Hierarchical authority structures are giving way to greater decision-making latitude for individuals and more flexible definitions of job activities . This new style of work presents a challenge to existing organizational forms. In this paper we investigate this concern by contrasting traditional organizational forms against groups that operate as online communities that are characterized by personal motivation and the satisfaction of making one's own decisions. We analyze the work of online communities by discussing three familiar examples. The analysis is guided by four complementary perspectives: economics, organizational structure, management, and knowledge management. We summarize the high-level results of our analysis as three design implications that might be useful for understanding the phenomena and guide the design of online community infrastructure for work activities.