Participation in Open Knowledge Communities and Job-Hopping: Evidence from Enterprise Software
MIS Quarterly, Forthcoming
44 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2013 Last revised: 18 Dec 2015
Date Written: June 10, 2013
Using longitudinal data of IT professionals’ activities in the SAP Community Network, and the career histories of these professionals, obtained from LinkedIn, we investigate the relationship between an individual’s participation in Internet-enabled open knowledge communities and a major event of her career development: job-hopping. We measure individual participation in open knowledge communities by two dimensions of related activities: contribution and learning. We find that while contribution to knowledge communities leads to a higher likelihood of job-hopping, greater amount of learning is associated with a higher probability of retention. We argue that the effect of contribution is attributed to job market signaling and the effect of learning is due to enhanced job performance and career advancement. We also find that the effect of learning is primarily driven by the learning of technical knowledge rather than the learning of business functional knowledge. We run a series of robustness tests to address alternative explanations and self-selection bias. Our work contributes to the existing literature on networks of practice by demonstrating that participation in these networks indeed leads to career benefits and implications. Additionally, our study takes the first step to fill the gap in the current literature on employee turnover that has so far ignored the impacts of employee participation in external knowledge communities, thus providing both theoretical and practical insights in the area of organizational research.
Keywords: community of practice, knowledge management, knowledge community, online forums, job hopping, career development, social network, enterprise software
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation