The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effects of the environment of a virtual community (users’ interactions inside and outside of a community which are defined as the fundamental and supplemental interaction (FI and SI), respectively) on its users’ knowledge sharing (KS) and the underlying cognitive mechanism.
A survey was conducted among the users who had experience of participating in a domain knowledge specific online community. A total of 479 valid observations were collected. Structural equation modeling was used to test the research model and hypotheses.
The empirical results show that the fundamental interaction (FI) not only directly affects users’ knowledge acquisition (KA) and contribution, but also indirectly affects users’ KA and contribution partially through the users’ self-efficacy and outcome expectation. While the supplemental interaction (SI) negatively affects users’ KA, it positively affects the users’ knowledge contribution and this effect is also partially mediated by the users’ self-efficacy and outcome expectation. The mediators of self-efficacy and outcome expectation play distinct role on users’ KA and contribution in virtual communities (VCs).
This research conceptualizes the users’ interaction inside and outside of a particular virtual community as FI and SI, respectively, and reveals the mechanism how they affect users’ KA and contribution. The results shed light on the literature of KS in VCs and extend social cognitive theory's application into a complex environment with blended interactions in a virtual world. The research also provides insights for virtual community designers, administrators and users.
This work was supported in part by National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant 70971130, 71201165 and 71273265, part by National Social Science Foundation of China under Grant 12BJL066 and Major Program under Grant 13&ZD184, part by Beijing Natural Science Foundation under Grant 9112009, part by Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University, and part by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities under Grant 10XNJ065 and 12XNLF04, and the Research Funds of Renmin University of China under Grant 13XNH168.
Zhou, J., Zuo, M., Yu, Y. and Chai, W. (2014), "How fundamental and supplemental interactions affect users’ knowledge sharing in virtual communities? A social cognitive perspective", Internet Research, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp. 566-586. https://doi.org/10.1108/IntR-07-2013-0143Download as .RIS
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