How Context and Attention Shape Behaviors in Online Communities: A Modified Garbage Can Model

Industrial and Corporate Change, Forthcoming

39 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2020

See all articles by Nicolai J. Foss

Nicolai J. Foss

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Strategy and Innovation

Lars Bo Jeppesen

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Strategy and Innovation

Francesco Rullani

Ca Foscari University of Venice - Department of Management

Date Written: June 24, 2020

Abstract

Online communities have emerged as important organizational forms, but there are many gaps in our understanding. In particular, researchers have mainly focused on individual-level drivers of behaviors in communities, while downplaying (formal, informal) context at various levels. We theorize that different dimensions of context (i.e., omnibus and discrete context) influence decision-making in online communities through mechanisms involving community members’ attention. Specifically, context influences which problems members perceive and which solutions they retrieve and apply, thereby shaping the process of matching solutions and problems. We derive four hypotheses about contribution behaviors in online communities and how such behaviors are influenced by context. The empirical setting for our study is the open-source software community. We find support for our hypotheses in a unique dataset that captures the behavior of 24,057 community members who used the SourceForge.net online platform from 2000 to 2002.

Keywords: context, attention allocation, problem-solving view, online innovation community

JEL Classification: O31, O32, O36

Suggested Citation

Foss, Nicolai J. and Jeppesen, Lars Bo and Rullani, Francesco, How Context and Attention Shape Behaviors in Online Communities: A Modified Garbage Can Model (June 24, 2020). Industrial and Corporate Change, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3636208 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3636208

Nicolai J. Foss

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Strategy and Innovation ( email )

Kilen
Frederiksberg, 2000
Denmark

Lars Bo Jeppesen (Contact Author)

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Strategy and Innovation ( email )

Kilevej 14A
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000
Denmark

Francesco Rullani

Ca Foscari University of Venice - Department of Management ( email )

San Giobbe, Cannaregio 873
Venice, 30121
Italy

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