Costs, benefits, and participation in online knowledge sharing in communities of practice for faculty Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/x059cb21d

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  • Community college and university faculty members changing their practice of teaching have reported benefits to participating in peer support within communities of practice that offer an online knowledge sharing space. The ability of such online knowledge sharing to provide opportunities for collaborative knowledge building has made fostering a viable online knowledge sharing space within a community of practice a goal of instructional innovation projects. However, motivating members to participate in knowledge sharing and generating sufficient member commitment to sustain the online knowledge sharing has proven difficult to accomplish. This study therefore addressed the question "How do cost and benefit factors relate to participation in online knowledge sharing in communities of practice meant to support efforts to improve instruction?" Kankanhalli, Tan, and Wei's (2005) model of knowledge sharing as an individual cost and benefit analysis decision influenced by institutional context was applied to online knowledge sharing within communities of practice supporting faculty innovation. Online knowledge sharing was defined as members posting information to the online site for a community of practice. Registrants to the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Program's 2011 Principal Investigator's Conference were invited by email to complete an online version of the original study's survey modified for the new population. A total of 174 recipients (24.4% of the 712 invited) started and 153 (21.5%) finished the survey. The hypotheses were assessed with Moderated Simultaneous Regression. Participation in online knowledge sharing was significantly increased among contributors who identified knowledge self-efficacy (adjusted Beta = .18, p = .047) and enjoyment in helping others (adjusted Beta = .24, p = .011) with participation. However, reciprocity and generalized trust did not moderate the influence of pro-sharing norms and participation effort on the respondent's participation. These findings suggest research is needed to identify other benefits to participation for the participants. Understanding what motivates participation may aid managers of communities of practice and projects supporting faculty innovation to improve participant support so as to more effectively increase and sustain participation.
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