- Volume 28 Issue 1
Purpose Virtual communities (VCs) are becoming ever more important in these days, sometimes more than offline communities. Notably, they have become significant sources of knowledge sharing. Therefore, in order to foster a VC, it is very important to understand why people share their knowledge in the VC. Under this background, this paper aims at proposing the behavioral model best explains knowledge sharing activities in VCs. Design/methodology/approach We basically design our behavioral model for knowledge sharing in VCs based on theory of reasoned action (TRA). However, to understand knowledge sharing in VCs better, we specify knowledge sharing by dividing it into knowledge contribution and knowledge use. Also, instead of 'subjective norm', we adopt 'sense of virtual community (SOVC)' as a main social factor, which has been found to be important in the literature. We also include the antecedents such as 'quality of the shared knowledge', 'trust in community members', 'passion of the community leader', 'reciprocity', and 'self efficacy', which affect VC users' attitude towards knowledge sharing and SOVC. To test the hypotheses in our proposed model, we collected 253 valid surveys from the VC users. Structural equation modeling (SEM) using AMOS 23 is employed to assess the relationships proposed as the hypotheses. Findings Major findings are as follows. SOVC positively affects both intention to contribute knowledge and intention to use knowledge. And, trust in community members positively affects the attitude towards knowledge use and SOVC. The attitude towards knowledge use is also affected by the quality of the shared knowledge. Reciprocity is found to strongly positively affect the attitude towards knowledge contribution. However, passion of the community leader and self efficacy are found to have insignificant effect on SOVC and the attitude towards knowledge contribution respectively. Our study sheds a light on how to foster VCs from the perspective of knowledge management.
Knowledge sharing;Virtual community;Sense of virtual community;Trust in members;Theory of reasoned action