Big From the Beginning. Assessing Online Contributors' Behavior by Their First Contribution.
LR-MOS, University of La Rochelle; Centre de Recherche en Économie et Management (CREM)
Telecom Bretagne, iSchool; M@rsouin (Môle Amoricain de Recherche sur la Société de l'information et les Usages d'Internet)
February 7, 2014
Forthcoming, Research Policy
This paper aims at investigating the process of involvement in open online communities producing knowledge, via the link between the first contribution and the level of contribution reached. While most studies look at the career of contribution after the first contribution, we focus on what happened before and during the first contribution. We challenge the fact that becoming a core member starts with peripheral contributive activities and results from a continuous learning process, as explained by the theory of community of practice. On the contrary, and coherent with epistemic community theory, our results, based on 13,000 answers to a survey on the use and contributions to Wikipédia, show that the future level of users' involvement depends on the time between the discovery of Wikipedia and the first contribution (negatively), and of the effort made in the first contribution (positively). Implications for management are also discussed.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 49
Keywords: voluntary participation, Wikipedia, survey, econometric studies, Probit, Heckman
JEL Classification: L17, L86, H41
Date posted: January 10, 2012 ; Last revised: March 6, 2015
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