The mediating role of sense of virtual community

Hsin Hsin Chang (Department of Business Administration, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan)
Pei-Hsuan Hsieh (Institute of Information Management, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan)
Chen Su Fu (Department of Business Administration, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Publication date: 14 November 2016



The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive model to illustrate the mediating role of sense of virtual community (SOVC) in virtual communities of practices (VCoPs). The interrelations between social capital and collective action in terms of knowledge contribution in the VCoP context are also examined.


A total of 253 members from the Zclub and Jorsindo, responded to the survey. PLS-SEM path modeling was used to analyze survey data.


Members’ structural capital and cognitive capital both positively and significantly influence members’ SOVC, and, in turn, their SOVC influences relational capital.

Research limitations/implications

The study linked two theories, namely, social capital and theory of collective action, to discuss knowledge contribution in VCoPs. Social capital and SOVC have significant and positive effects on knowledge contribution in VCoPs.

Practical implications

Knowledge contributions in VCoPs are created through interactions among members, as well as the facilitation resulting from shared visions. Administrators can promote the formation of social-interaction ties in VCoPs to reinforce the formation of social capital and a SOVC.

Social implications

Administrators of knowledge-oriented groups must strive to sustain proper levels of SOVC among members to ensure their continued participation in VCoPs.


The main objectives of this study were to examine the effects of social capital (structural, cognitive, and relational capitals) on the quality and quantity of knowledge contribution. SOVC was proposed as a mediator in the relationship between structural and/or cognitive capital toward relational capital.



Chang, H., Hsieh, P. and Fu, C. (2016), "The mediating role of sense of virtual community", Online Information Review, Vol. 40 No. 7, pp. 882-899.

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