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Knowledge-sharing in virtual communities: familiarity, anonymity and self-determination theory

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Although the role of motivation has been emphasised in knowledge-sharing literature, traditional motivation theories, such as self-determination theory (SDT), have not been actively used as a research framework in knowledge-sharing research. The purposes of this study are twofold. The first objective is to propose a model, based on SDT, to test the effect of the three basic psychological needs – perceived competence, perceived autonomy and perceived relatedness – on knowledge-sharing behaviours in virtual communities. The second objective is to explore the effects of familiarity and anonymity on the basic psychological needs to better understand individuals’ knowledge-sharing behaviours in virtual communities. The results show that perceived competence and perceived relatedness influence knowledge-sharing behaviours in virtual communities; however, perceived autonomy does not influence knowledge-sharing behaviours; familiarity influences positively perceived competence and perceived relatedness, and anonymity influences negatively perceived autonomy and perceived relatedness.

Keywords: anonymity; familiarity; knowledge-sharing; self-determination theory (SDT); virtual communities

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Business Administration,Mokpo National University, 61 Dorim-ri, Chungkye-myun, Muan-gun, Chonnam, KoreaSeoul,534–729, Republic of Korea 2: School of Engineering,University of California, MercedMerced,California, USA

Publication date: 2012-11-01

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