Motivation in Online Communities

Motivation in Online Communities

Patrick Waterson (Fraunhofer IESE, Germany)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 4
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-563-4.ch062
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Abstract

The subject of how to encourage people to share their knowledge has long been a theme within the domain of knowledge management. Early studies showed that company employees, for example, are often reluctant to share their knowledge (e.g., Ciborra & Patriota, 1998). A number of possible reasons exist for why this takes place, including: lack of personal incentives to share expertise; an organizational culture that does not reward or encourage sharing; and lack of trust that shared knowledge will be put to good use (e.g., fear of exploitation). Research identifying these types of barriers to effective knowledge management is well established (e.g., Brown & Duguid, 2000); however, within the context of online communities it is more recent. The term “online community” tends to be applied in a general sense to refer to large-scale groups that regularly exchange information through mechanisms such as e-mail, weblogs, discussion lists and Wikis. These types of communities can take a variety of forms, some of which mix face-to-face contact with computer-mediated interaction (e.g., some types of “communities of practice,” CoPs), while others are more likely to be wholly online and involve people who have never met (e.g., “networks of

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