Research Output

Creation and recreation: motivating collaboration to generate knowledge capital in online communities.

  The results of a research project that examined the factors that motivated individuals competing to win an award of £10,000 to interact collectively in a Yahoo e-group are presented. The project’s focus was to examine the apparent willingness of competitors to help their rivals when only one prize was available. The findings revealed that the initial impetus for members to join the group was to discover information for personal benefit. Over time, however, individual desire to reciprocate the help received from the group developed out of the online interactions. Other results from the study:
challenge the findings of previous research on the value of strong social capital in online communities;
confirm that in order to motivate active participation in online environments incentives offered should match the values of the group in question;
advocate that a balance needs to be achieved in determining the degree of focus in a discussion group’s activities: a narrow focus leads to action amongst members and diminishes the requirement for social support and community control;
reveal that decisions on a community’s size may determine its power to support genuine collaboration and new knowledge creation: all-inclusive membership provides opportunities for individual learning, but true knowledge capital is generated in smaller, less public groups.
These findings highlight issues that businesses may wish to consider when there are plans to create virtual communities of practice to meet corporate goals. This is particularly important with reference to furnishing environments where employees are willing to work collaboratively in the creation of new knowledge.

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  • Date:

    30 November 2003

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  • Library of Congress:

    HT Communities. Classes. Races


Hall, H. & Graham, D. (2003). Creation and recreation: motivating collaboration to generate knowledge capital in online communities. International Journal of Information Management. 24, 235-246. doi:10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2004.02.004. ISSN 0268-4012



Online communities; Knowledge sharing; Incentives; Collaboration

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