Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

How Members' Commitment to an Online Knowledge Community Influences Their Usage Behavior

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

How Members' Commitment to an Online Knowledge Community Influences Their Usage Behavior

Article excerpt

An online knowledge community (OKC) is a popular Internet community that specializes in knowledge sharing and seeking (Luo, Yoshita, & Wang, 2013). With many choices on offer and low switching costs, it is easy for users to join and leave an OKC (Bateman, Gray, & Butler, 2011). This makes individuals' access to some websites one-off transactions. Thus, in order to achieve success, an OKC should both attract its users to remain with the community over time and increase their willingness to share and contribute knowledge.

In the last decade, a great deal of research on OKCs has been undertaken to establish the reason for users' motivations, such as reputation (Hsu, 2015), altruism, and reciprocity (Cheung, Lee, & Lee, 2013; Lee, Kim, & Kim, 2011). However, very few researchers have incorporated organizational commitment into the study of OKC. In this study, we examined how OKC members' commitment affects their usage behavior, and investigated how community commitment, as an intermediate psychological process, is shaped by distal contextual antecedents.

Research Model and Hypotheses

Community Commitment

In the context of online communities, most previous researchers have viewed commitment as a one-dimensional construct (Kuo & Feng, 2013; Liu, Wagner, & Chen, 2014). According to organizational commitment theory, commitment is a complex and multidimensional construct (Meyer & Allen, 1991). Consistent with this theory, Bateman et al. (2011) characterized community commitment as having three components: continuance community commitment, affective community commitment, and normative community commitment.

Continuance community commitment has been defined as "a bond between a member and a particular community that is based on the member's belief that his or her involvement provides net benefits that are not easily available elsewhere" (Bateman et al., 2011, p. 843). In the case of an OKC, individuals join a community and browse its web pages to obtain valuable information for their own benefit. As they search for information, they incur energy and time costs. Continuance community commitment indicates the degree to which a member believes the cost:benefit ratio associated with a particular community is superior to that of other communities. Hence, members' level of continuance community commitment could affect their usage. Therefore, we formed the following hypothesis:

Hypothesis 1: A member's level of continuance community commitment toward an online knowledge community will have a significant, positive impact on his/ her usage of that community.

Affective community commitment has been defined as "a bond between a member and a particular community that is based on the member's strong emotional attachment to that community" (Bateman et al., 2011, p. 843). Affective community commitment is composed of positive feelings of identification with, and involvement in, an online community. It has been empirically confirmed that individuals' sense of involvement has a positive influence on their participation (Yoo, Suh, & Lee, 2002). Individuals with a strong emotional attachment to a community identify with, and generally like, that community. Therefore, they are interested in, and might want to browse, the website frequently to participate in the conversations within that community, consciously helping other members who are part of the group. Therefore, we formed the following hypothesis:

Hypothesis 2: A member's level of affective community commitment toward an online knowledge community will have a significant, positive impact on his/her usage of that community.

Normative community commitment has been defined as "a bond between a member and a particular community that is based on the member's sense of obligation toward that community," and the focus is on an obligation to contribute to the community (Bateman et al., 2011, p. 844). When a member has obtained benefits from a community, he or she is likely to feel obliged to repay these benefits, and to believe that it is his/her duty to support this community. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.