Factors affecting knowledge-sharing within endurance-sports online communities

Kang, Byung Seok
Dickson, Geoff
Phelps, Sean
Naylor, Michael
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

According to Hur, Ko, and Valacich (2007), the Internet is becoming one of the most important management tools for sports stakeholders (e.g. marketers, sports business owners, and etc.). The number of Internet users has rapidly grown, and it is a primary source of information for many sports consumers. Nowadays, participants in sports industries (e.g. manufactures, sports teams, etc.) employ the Internet in their business strategies. In considering the growth of online sports business, it is important for sports stakeholders to understand the motivation for sports online consumption. There have been several studies focused on motivation for consumption of professional team sports Web sites; however, there has not been a great deal of research undertaken to investigate the motivations of non-team specific online sports community users or the factors that influence their knowledge-sharing behaviour (KSB). KSB is the process of mutually exchanging knowledge and jointly creating new knowledge (van den Hooff & de Ridder, 2004). This research comprises three cross-sectional studies. The aims are as follows: 1) develop a valid and reliable scale to measure motivation for endurance-sports online community (ESOC) participation through modification of the Motivational Scale for Sports Online Consumption (MSSOC) (Seo & Green, 2008); 2) identify motivational differences between lurkers and contributors within an ESOC; and 3) propose and test a structural equation model that identifies relationships between variables that affect the KSB within an ESOC. Data was collected from 20 ESOCs devoted to triathlons, running, cycling, and swimming.

Study 1 begins with a three-phase qualitative component (literature review, content validity, face validity). The qualitative phase is followed by a two-phase quantitative component (exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis). The results showed that seven factors (information/knowledge seeking, information/knowledge-sharing, entertainment, interpersonal communication, escape, pass time, and economic) served as motivation for ESOC participation. The researcher found that ESOC users might not visit ESOC for interpersonal communication purposes, even if some NFL (National Football League) fans use NFL Web sites for the purposes of interpersonal communication. Additionally, ESOC users’ seeking and sharing motives are not as complicated as the researcher initially proposed. Information seeking and technical knowledge seeking factors are highly correlated, and the same applies to sharing factors.

Study 2 utilises the scale developed in Study 1 to conduct a Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) to identify motivational differences between lurkers and contributors. The results showed that the importance of the seven motives differs by level of participation, or that participation levels might be changed by ESOC users’ motivation for ESOC consumption. Information/technical knowledge-sharing, interpersonal communication, and economic factor mean scores were significantly different between lurkers and contributors.

Study 3 consists of six phases (Hair, Black, Babin, Anderson, & Tatham, 2009): defining individual constructs, developing the overall measurement model, designing a study to produce empirical results, assessing the measurement model validity, specifying the structural model, and assessing structural model validity. Consistent with previous research on KSB research (Gagné, 2009; Pavlou & Fygenson, 2006), the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) (Ajzen, 1991) provides the underlying framework for the model. According to the TPB, three factors influence intentions and behaviour: attitude toward the behaviour; subjective norms regarding the behaviour, and beliefs about one’s control over the behaviour. The model also proposes that sense of virtual community (SOVC) (Blanchard, 2008) is also positively associated with KSB.

The result showed that intention was clearly the best predictor of actual knowledge-sharing in an ESOC. Perceived behavioural control is also a good predictor of intention to share knowledge in an ESOC, but it is not a good predictor of actual KSB in an ESOC. Attitudes about sharing knowledge in an ESOC and subjective norms were theoretically good predictors of sharing intention, but both subjective norms and sharing attitude were statistically insignificant paths.

Online community , Sport
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