Why Would I Share?: The Intention to Use Blogs for Knowledge Sharing According to Gender, Experience, and Cultural Differences

Why Would I Share?: The Intention to Use Blogs for Knowledge Sharing According to Gender, Experience, and Cultural Differences

Yanyan Shang (The University of Tampa, USA) and Yousra Harb (Yarmouk University, Jordan)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/IJKM.2021070105
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Blogs are known for their information and knowledge sharing capabilities. Several theoretical frameworks have been proposed to study the factors that influence an individual's intention to use blogs for knowledge sharing. However, factors like content familiarity and design familiarity are lacking in the literature. Hence, this paper aims to extend past studies and investigate the influence of familiarity with blogs in knowledge sharing. Particularly, the purpose of this paper is twofold. The first objective is to explore the effect of familiarity in terms of content familiarity and design familiarity on individual intention to use a blog as a knowledge sharing tool. The second objective is to determine whether familiarity factors change with gender, blog experience, and cultural differences. The results show that content familiarity and design familiarity positively influence an individual's knowledge sharing behavior in blogs. In addition, content familiarity and design familiarity differ according to gender, blog experience, and cultural differences.
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The ever-emerging development of information technologies has dramatically changed our lifestyle. People rely on the Internet and social media for education, work, and entertainment (Wang & Wang, 2018; Yueh et al., 2014). As a popular social media service platform, blogs are increasingly attracting people who wish to share their opinions, detail their activities, and maintain their existing relationships. With the popularity and pervasiveness of this interactive tool, past research has stressed that utilizing blogs as a knowledge-sharing technology can promote users to collaborate and create more knowledge (Hou et al., 2009).

One of the promising features of the blog is that it enables bloggers to actively participate in information and knowledge sharing. Functions such as searching, posting comments, tagging, trackbacking, and linking to other blogs all play a significant role in supporting knowledge sharing and content retention (Röll, 2004). Scholars have been interested in understanding the popularity of blogs in different contexts and studying how blogs can be beneficial to their users. For instance, Yueh et al. (2014) conducted a study to understand user perceptions of the different functions of educational blogs for both educational and personal uses. In marketing, Ho et al. (2015) suggested how blogs can be used by enterprises for advertisement and brand awareness. Other research has focused on investigating the user’s motivation to accept blog usage (Chen & Behm-Morawitz, 2018; Hsu & Lin, 2008). Generally, the effective deployment of a blog as a knowledge-sharing tool requires several factors. In previous studies, a variety of theoretical frameworks have been employed to investigate the antecedents of knowledge-sharing behavior as it is believed to be the critical factor for blog success. Studies employing social exchange theory identified that outcome expectancy affects the intention to use blogs for knowledge sharing. Studies harnessing theories related to technology acceptance have argued that performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence, self-efficacy, subjective norms, perceived enjoyment, and individual attitudes impact user intention to use blogs as a knowledge-sharing tool (Lu et al., 2010; Papadopoulos et al., 2013; Pardamean & Susanto, 2012). However, these factors can be changed easily according to a given context and may be inadequate to fully explain the intention behind the blogging behavior of users, especially behavior that lasts for a long time. Therefore, other relevant effective factors warrant further investigation. In this vein, researchers in psychology shed light on some factors related to user behavior that develops over time. One of these factors is user familiarity. Familiarity represents emotions that evolve over time, and it grows naturally with years of social interaction (Gobbini et al., 2004). Previous research relates that there is a familiarity factor related to user intention, and it contributes to explaining the intention to use web-based services (Lee & Kwon, 2011).

Despite the increased attention the blogging phenomenon has received, little research has focused on the factors that drive users to create and share blog articles from the perspective of familiarity. Hence, the purpose of this study is to extend upon past studies and investigate the relationship between familiarity in terms of content familiarity and design familiarity and the intention to use blogs as a knowledge-sharing medium. In addition, this research aims to examine the effect of individual differences on online blogging behavior. Particularly, the authors intend to investigate whether the relationship between familiarity factors and the intention to use blogs for knowledge sharing vary with demographic differences.

Specifically, to address this research gap, the authors address two research questions. Firstly, will user familiarity with blog content and design affect their intention to use blogs as a knowledge-sharing tool? Secondly, will gender, experience, and cultural differences affect the relationship between blog familiarity and user intention to engage in blog use for knowledge sharing? Understanding the familiarity effect on people’s intention to use blogs would provide important insights for knowledge management and online community platforms.

The reminder of the paper is organized as follows. The next section presents background with respect to theory. The research model and hypotheses are described in section 3. Section 4 explains the research methodology. The results are detailed in section 5. Finally, the discussion and concluding remarks are presented in section 6.

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