Human Effect of Knowledge Sharing: Cooperative Type and Reciprocity Level in Community of Practice
Jaekyung Kim (University of Nebraska, USA), Sang M. Lee (University of Nebraska, USA) and David L. Olson (University of Nebraska, USA)
Copyright: © 2008
Knowledge sharing is important for organizational success. Once IT-driven KM approaches are proliferated, they sometimes fail to operate as expected. Social perspectives of KM, especially the human effect on knowledge sharing, are expected to be important because people can choose to share or conceal knowledge. Management of knowledge is not all about collection, but more about connection. This study investigates an individual’s behavior type as a cooperator, reciprocator, and free rider with respect to knowledge contribution. We view shared knowledge in a community of practice as a public good and adopt a theory of reciprocity to explain how different cooperative types affect knowledge contribution. People are assumed to react in one of three ways; sharing knowledge without need for reciprocity (cooperators), feeling obligated to share their knowledge (reciprocators), or taking knowledge for granted (free riders). Results reveal that the fraction of cooperator is positively related to total knowledge contribution and to reciprocity level, while the reciprocity level positively affects knowledge contribution.