Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

The Behavior of Wiki Users

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

The Behavior of Wiki Users

Article excerpt

Our survey, in which we adopted the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (Venkatesh, Morris, Davis, & Davis, 2003) revealed that performance expectancy, effort expectancy, facilitating conditions, and user involvement have a positive effect on the intention to use wikis. The results exemplify the current trend of users playing an increasingly important role in web-based content creation.

Keywords: wiki, collaborative writing system, behavior, wiki users, technology acceptance model, unified theory of acceptance and use of technology.

The term "wild", which comes from the Hawaiian "wee kee wee kee", means fast. On the worldwide web, wikis are collaborative writing systems. They replace HTML syntax with much easier formatting rules and provide functions such as version control (Chawner & Lewis, 2006). Anyone can create and edit a wiki article. Through the version control feature, revisions can be evaluated and compared with the input of other users. Due to this universality, wikis are a convenient tool for knowledge sharing in virtual communities. A good example of a wiki application is WiMpedia.

The importance of wikis is illustrated by the number of users. The term "wiki" generates about 436 million items on the Google search engine. There are more than 2.8 million English-language articles in WMpedia, and more than 250 languages are represented. In addition, there are about 12,895,846 users of the English-language Wikipedia, including 1,744 administrators. Cui, Miller, and Roberts (2009), and Kane and Fichman (2009) provide evidence for the importance of wikis in business, teaching, research, and publishing. Wikis have been identified as an up-and-coming technology useful for generating customers (Baker & Green, 2005; Fenn & Linden, 2004; Hof, 2004; Swisher, 2004). According to Wagner and Majchrzak (2006), organizations that truly capture the potential of this technology will experience dramatic increases in the number of customers they draw. Under what circumstances do people choose to share thek knowledge through wikis? When they do, can organizations truly capture the technological potential offered by this sharing? According to AmichaiHamburger, Lamdan, Madiel, and Hayat (2008), Wikipedians are not the right kind of people for knowledge sharing, as they score relatively low on measures of agreeableness, openness, and conscientiousness (Amichai-Hamburger et al., 2008). However, additional research is needed to adequately determine what kinds of people make the best wiki users.

We believe that the technology acceptance model (TAM; Davis, 1989), the theory of reasoned action (TRA; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975), or similar models should be applied to formally analyze the motivation to share knowledge in a wiki environment. In the TRA, Fishbein and Ajzen (1975) assert that individual behavior is determined by behavioral intention, which, in turn, is determined by subjective norms and the individual's attitude toward the intended behavior. The TAM is one of the most influential extensions of TRA, which is used to analyze and explain how users come to use and accept a new technology (Davis, Bagozzi, & Warshaw, 1989). In this paper, we chose the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT) as our research model, as depicted in Figure 1. Since it was developed in 2003, the UTAUT has been validated in many studies (Al-Gahtani, Hubona, & Wang, 2007; Chen, Wu, & Yang, 2008; Chiù & Wang, 2008; Yeow & Loo, 2009). The overall explanatory power (R2) of the model is 70%, the highest of any model used to analyze technology acceptance and usage. Compared to models such as the TAM or the TRA, the UTAUT allows analysts to understand the factors that influence the use of new technology, including social impact, intent, and innovation, as well as user behavior. Our aim in this study was to explain why people use wikis.

Our model is illustrated in Figure 2. …

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