Advertisement

Online Knowledge-Sharing Motivators of Top Contributors in 30 Q&A Sites

  • Yongsi Chen
  • Khe Foon Hew
Conference paper
Part of the Educational Communications and Technology Yearbook book series (ECTY)

Abstract

This study reports on the activities from a large question and answer (Q&A) site, Stack Exchange, which brings together individual communities of users on every specific topic. Q&A communities are selected from the top 30 sites from Stack Exchange, ranked by registered users as well as the percentage of answered questions. Using online survey, this study empirically tests a model of knowledge-sharing contribution to examine why individuals share knowledge in Stack Exchange. Research model is developed based on the theory of reasoned action, using attitude as the proxy to study the influence of possible motivations on knowledge-sharing intention. Nine factors were examined including knowledge-sharing self-efficacy, altruism, trust, reciprocity, personal expected returns, identification, shared vision, social network ties, and community-level expected returns. Results show that knowledge sharing is motivated primarily through altruism and personal expected returns.

Keywords

Community of practice Q&A Knowledge-sharing motivations Knowledge-sharing contribution model 

References

  1. Adamic, L. A., Zhang, J., Bakshy, E., & Ackerman, M. S. (2008, April). Knowledge sharing and yahoo answers: Everyone knows something. In Proceedings of the 17th international conference on World Wide Web (pp. 665–674). ACM.Google Scholar
  2. Adams, J. S. (1963). Towards an understanding of inequity. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67(5), 422–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M. (1980). Understanding attitudes and predicting social behaviour. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  4. Anand, V., Glick, W. H., & Manz, C. C. (2002). Thriving on the knowledge of outsiders: Tapping organizational social capital. The Academy of Management Executive, 16(1), 87–101.Google Scholar
  5. Ardichvili, A., Page, V., & Wentling, T. (2003). Motivation and barriers to participation in virtual knowledge-sharing communities of practice. Journal of Knowledge Management, 7(1), 64–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Batson, C. D. (1991). The altruism question: Toward a social-psychological answer. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  7. Batson, C. D., Ahmad, N., & Tsang, J. A. (2002). Four motives for community involvement. Journal of Social Issues, 58(3), 429–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Blau, P. M. (1964). Exchange and power in social life. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  9. Bock, G. W., & Kim, Y. G. (2002). Breaking the myths of rewards: An exploratory study of attitudes about knowledge sharing. Information Resource Management Journal, 15(2), 14–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Casimir, G., Ng, N. K., & Cheng, C. L. P. (2012). Using IT to share knowledge and the TRA. Journal of Knowledge Management, 16(3), 461–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chen, C. J., & Hung, S. W. (2010). To give or to receive? Factors influencing members’ knowledge sharing and community promotion in professional virtual communities. Information Management, 47(4), 226–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chen, I. Y., & Chen, N. S. (2009). Examining the factors influencing participants’ knowledge sharing behavior in virtual learning communities. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 12(1), 134–148.Google Scholar
  13. Chiu, C. M., Hsu, M. H., & Wang, E. T. (2006). Understanding knowledge sharing in virtual communities: An integration of social capital and social cognitive theories. Decision Support Systems, 42(3), 1872–1888.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Coleman, J. S. (1990). The foundations of social theory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Ekeh, P. P. (1974). Social exchange theory: The two traditions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Fang, Y. H., & Chiu, C. M. (2010). In justice we trust: Exploring knowledge-sharing continuance intentions in virtual communities of practice. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(2), 235–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fernie, S., Green, S. D., Weller, S. J., & Newcombe, R. (2003). Knowledge sharing: Context, confusion and controversy. International Journal of Project Management, 21(3), 177–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I. (1975). Belief, attitude, intention and behavior: An introduction to theory and research. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  19. He, W., & Wei, K.-K. (2009). What drives continued knowledge sharing? An investigation of knowledge-contribution and – Seeking beliefs. Decision Support Systems, 46, 826–838.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hew, K. F., & Hara, N. (2007). Knowledge sharing in online environments: A qualitative case study. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58(14), 2310–2324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ho, S. C., Ting, P. H., Bau, D. Y., & Wei, C. C. (2011). Knowledge-sharing intention in a virtual community: A study of participants in the Chinese Wikipedia. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 14(9), 541–545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hollander, E. P., & Willis, R. H. (1967). Some current issues in the psychology of conformity and nonconformity. Psychological Bulletin, 68(1), 62–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hung, S. W., & Cheng, M. J. (2013). Are you ready for knowledge sharing? An empirical study of virtual communities. Computers & Education, 62, 8–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hung, S. Y., Lai, H. M., & Chang, W. W. (2011). Knowledge-sharing motivations affecting R&D employees’ acceptance of electronic knowledge repository. Behaviour & Information Technology, 30(2), 213–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kankanhalli, A., Tan, B. C., & Wei, K. K. (2005). Contributing knowledge to electronic knowledge repositories: An empirical investigation. MIS Quarterly, 20, 113–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lin, M. J. J., Hung, S. W., & Chen, C. J. (2009). Fostering the determinants of knowledge sharing in professional virtual communities. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(4), 929–939.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mamykina, L., Manoim, B., Mittal, M., Hripcsak, G., & Hartmann, B. (2011). Design lessons from the fastest q&a site in the west. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 2857–2866). ACM.Google Scholar
  28. Mayer, R. C., Davis, J. H., & Schoorman, F. D. (1995). An integrative model of organizational trust. Academy of Management Review, 20(3), 709–734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Miller, K. (2005). Communication theories: Perspectives, processes, and contexts (2nd ed.). Boston: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  30. Nahapiet, J., & Ghoshal, S. (1998). Social capital, intellectual capital, and the organizational advantage. The Academy of Management Review, 23(2), 242–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nowak, M. A., & Sigmund, K. (2000). Shrewd investments. Science, 288, 819–820.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nunnally, J. C. (1978). Psychometric theory (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  33. Senge, P. (1998). Sharing knowledge: You can’t own knowledge, so why not share it? Executive Excellence, 15, 11–12.Google Scholar
  34. Shu, W., & Chuang, Y. H. (2011). Why people share knowledge in virtual communities. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 39(5), 671–690.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Teigland, R., & Wasko, M. M. (2004). Extending richness with reach: Participation and knowledge exchange in electronic networks of practice. In P. Hildreth & C. Kimble (Eds.), Knowledge networks: Innovation through communities of practice (pp. 230–242). Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Thorndike, E. L. (1911). Animal intelligence. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  37. Tsai, W., & Ghoshal, S. (1998). Social capital and value creation: The role of intrafirm networks. Academy of Management Journal, 41(4), 464–476.Google Scholar
  38. Wang, W. T., & Wei, Z. H. (2011). Knowledge sharing in wiki communities: An empirical study. Online Information Review, 35(5), 799–820.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wasko, M., & Faraj, S. (2000). “It is what one does:” Why people participate and help others in electronic communities of practice. Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 9, 155–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wasko, M. M., & Faraj, S. (2005). Why should I share? Examining social capital and knowledge contribution in electronic networks of practice. MIS Quarterly, 29(1), 35–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Yang, H. L., & Lai, C. Y. (2010). Motivations of Wikipedia content contributors. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(6), 1377–1383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Yang, J., Wei, X., Ackerman, M. S., & Adamic, L. A. (2010). Activity lifespan: An analysis of user survival patterns in online knowledge sharing communities. In ICWSM Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yongsi Chen
    • 1
  • Khe Foon Hew
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of Hong KongPok Fu LamHong Kong

Personalised recommendations