Estimating External Motivating Factors in Virtual Inter-Organizational Communities of Practice: Peer Effects and Organizational Influences

34 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2015

See all articles by Kexin Zhao

Kexin Zhao

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte

Bin Zhang

University of Arizona - Eller College of Management

Xue Bai

Temple University - Fox School of Business and Management

Date Written: April 26, 2015

Abstract

Virtual inter-organizational communities of practice (IOCoPs) enable professionals belonging to different organizations to exchange and share knowledge via computer-mediated interactions. Since individuals’ participation is voluntary and autonomous, prior literature mainly focuses on internal motivating factors at the individual level. However, knowledge sharing requires social interactions. Influences from external entities play an important role in encouraging individuals’ community participation. In this research, we study external motivating factors generated from two different channels: peer effects within and organizational influences outside the virtual community. We apply a novel econometric identification method to analyze a unique dataset collected from a virtual IOCoP in the financial trading sector. We find that, after controlling individuals’ own incentives, external motivating factors from online peers and offline organizations are influential in determining community participation quantitatively as well as qualitatively. In addition, our results suggest that virtual IOCoPs and organizations are two complementary learning channels for individuals. Differentiating motivating factors across multiple levels enables us to shed new light on various mechanisms with which IOCoPs can apply to engaging collective learning and knowledge management across organizations.

Keywords: inter-organizational communities of practice, incentives to participate, peer effects, organizational influences, multilevel framework

Suggested Citation

Zhao, Kexin and Zhang, Bin and Bai, Xue, Estimating External Motivating Factors in Virtual Inter-Organizational Communities of Practice: Peer Effects and Organizational Influences (April 26, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2599362 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2599362

Kexin Zhao

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte ( email )

9201 University City Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28223
United States

Bin Zhang

University of Arizona - Eller College of Management ( email )

1130 E. Helen St
RM430Z
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States
(520) 626-9239 (Phone)

Xue Bai (Contact Author)

Temple University - Fox School of Business and Management ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

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