Knowledge Adoption in Online Communities of Practice <i>(initially published in 2004)</i>
Keywords:Knowledge adoptio, Online Communities of Practice, Dual-process theories of information processing, Genre conformity, Information consistency, Focused search, Disconfirming information
In this study we investigate how members of text-based, asynchronous online Communities of Practice (COPs) adopt knowledge contributed by other COP members. Previous studies of knowledge adoption in computer-mediated settings have drawn on dual-process theories of information processing to understand the role of heuristic cues and elaboration likelihood in this process. Here we extend this research stream, exploring two potential new heuristic cues: genre conformity and information consistency. In addition, we examine the factors focused search and disconfirming information to understand how they may induce non-heuristic cognitive processes. Survey data were collected from an online COP and findings support the hypotheses generated from our research model. This study advances our understanding of knowledge sharing in online COPs. Findings suggest that the context of an online COP can play a dynamic role in how members process the content component of that COP. Focusing on the pull technology of online COPs, it offers another theoretical link between Computer-Mediated Communications and knowledge management. Practically, it also provides us with insights into online COPs as a potential means for improving organizational knowledge management.
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