Understanding the determinants of continuous knowledge sharing intention within business online communities

Hashim, Kamarul Faizal
Tan, Felix B.
Andrade, Antonio Diaz
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

For the past decade, knowledge sharing scholars have paid a substantial amount of attention towards understanding the determinants of member knowledge sharing behaviour within business online community settings. Although enormous research efforts have been put forth, members are still unwilling to share what they know with others actively. Recently, knowledge sharing scholars are suggesting that the success/sustainability of consumer knowledge sharing based communities depends on their ability to promote continuous knowledge sharing among members. Although continuous knowledge sharing has been acknowledged as important, understanding of this continuous behaviour remains limited.

Thus, this study aims to provide a better understanding of continuous knowledge sharing by: i) examining the characteristics of continuous knowledge sharing; and ii) predicting the determinants of members’ continuous knowledge sharing intentions within a business online community context.

A research model is developed to identify and evaluate the key driving factors influencing continuous knowledge sharing intention. The research model is grounded in information systems continuous use model (ISCM). In addition, two theoretical lenses—commitment-trust theory and the expectancy value model—are adapted to explain the mediating effects of trust and commitment, and to predict member beliefs of community perceived usefulness.

A Web survey technique is employed to collect data from business online community members who have experience sharing knowledge to the community. Two-hundred-twenty useable responses were received and further analysed using the appropriate statistical procedures. The research model was then tested using the partial least square (PLS) technique. Smart PLS 2.0M3 was used to validate the research model and test the proposed research hypotheses.

This study confirms that social, personal, and technology-related enablers drive members’ continuous knowledge sharing intention. The empirical results of this study lead to several significant findings. The findings show that satisfaction and community perceived usefulness positively influence continuous knowledge sharing intention. Further, identification trust and affective commitment have positive significant mediation effect on members’ continuous knowledge sharing intention. These two constructs (i.e., identification trust and affective commitment) have been identified to have partial mediation effects. Meanwhile, satisfaction is identified as influenced by community perceived usefulness and confirmation. Finally, the results also show that members’ belief of community perceived usefulness are significantly predicted only by members’ positive feeling of intrinsic value (e.g., enjoyment of sharing knowledge, the challenges and excitement from solving others’ problem) obtained from sharing knowledge. Overall, the research model explains a substantial amount of variance (51%) in continuous knowledge sharing intention.

Given the substantial explanatory power of the model findings, this thesis has significant theoretical and practical contributions. Theoretically, this study provides a theoretical model that explains the determinants of continuous knowledge sharing intention within a business online community context. The theoretical contributions lie in extending the current ISCM theoretical framework. Two constructs (i.e., identification trust and affective commitment) are demonstrated to mediate significantly the relationship between satisfaction and continuous knowledge contribution intention. Further extension includes the demonstration of how expectation value model’s antecedents are used to predict members’ belief of community perceived usefulness. Further, this study also provides understanding and practical suggestions on how these determinants influence members’ continuous knowledge sharing intention.

Continuous knowledge sharing , Business online communities , Information Systems Continuous Use Model , Commitment Trust Theory
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