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The influence of membership fluidity on the coevolution of the social and knowledge systems in online knowledge communities

Jiangnan Qiu (School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)
Wenjing Gu (School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)
Zhongming Ma (California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California, USA)
Yue You (School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)
Chengjie Cai (School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)
Meihui Zhang (School of Economics and Management, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Article publication date: 17 February 2023

Issue publication date: 18 March 2024

176

Abstract

Purpose

In the extant research on online knowledge communities (OKCs), little attention has been paid to the influence of membership fluidity on the coevolution of the social and knowledge systems. This article aims to fill this gap.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the attraction-selection-attrition (ASA) framework, this paper constructs a simulation model to study the coevolution of these two systems under different levels of membership fluidity.

Findings

By analyzing the evolution of these systems with the vector autoregression (VAR) method, we find that social and knowledge systems become more orderly as the coevolution progresses. Furthermore, in communities with low membership fluidity, the microlevel of the social system (i.e. users) drives the coevolution, whereas in communities with high membership fluidity, the microlevel of the knowledge system (i.e. users' views) drives the coevolution.

Originality/value

This paper extends the application of the ASA framework and enriches the literature on membership fluidity of online communities and the literature on driving factors for coevolution of the social and knowledge systems in OKCs. On a practical level, our work suggests that community administrators should adopt different strategies for different membership fluidity to efficiently promote the coevolution of the social and knowledge systems in OKCs.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 72074044) & (No. 71573030). The authors would like to thank the editorsand anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

Citation

Qiu, J., Gu, W., Ma, Z., You, Y., Cai, C. and Zhang, M. (2024), "The influence of membership fluidity on the coevolution of the social and knowledge systems in online knowledge communities", Information Technology & People, Vol. 37 No. 2, pp. 553-582. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITP-11-2021-0904

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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