Estimating External Motivating Factors in Virtual Inter-Organizational Communities of Practice: Peer Effects and Organizational Influences
34 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2015
Date Written: April 26, 2015
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
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