Understanding knowledge sharing in virtual communities

Chao‐Min Chiu (Department of Information Management, National Sun Yat‐sen University, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, ROC)
Eric T.G. Wang (Department of Information Management, National Central University, Jhongli City, Taiwan, ROC)
Fu‐Jong Shih (Department of Information Management, National Central University, Jhongli City, Taiwan, ROC)
Yi‐Wen Fan (Department of Information Management, National Central University, Jhongli City, Taiwan, ROC)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Publication date: 22 February 2011



The purpose of this paper is to investigate the motivations behind people's intentions to continue knowledge sharing (continuance intention) in open professional virtual communities.


Data collected from 270 members of a professional virtual community provides partial support for the proposed model. LISREL 8.5 was used to analyse the measurement and structural models.


The results show that playfulness is critical for the community members' satisfaction and continuance intention. However, only positive self‐worth disconfirmation, distributive justice, and interactional justice can influence the satisfaction of the community members.

Research limitations/implications

The data were collected from a single open professional community; the generalisation of the model and findings to other virtual communities requires additional research. The findings imply that justice factors appear to be important in leading to higher satisfaction levels.

Practical implications

Developers of virtual communities should create a more enjoyable online environment and raise the core knowledge contributors' sense of self‐worth.


A theoretical model was constructed in which individual motivation factors, social network factors, and justice theory are integrated with expectancy disconfirmation theory to investigate the motivations behind people's continuance intention.



Chao‐Min Chiu, Eric T.G. Wang, Fu‐Jong Shih and Yi‐Wen Fan (2011) "Understanding knowledge sharing in virtual communities", Online Information Review, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 134-153

Download as .RIS


: https://doi.org/10.1108/14684521111113623



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.