Title: Knowledge sharing in virtual communities – a review of the empirical research

Authors: Miia Kosonen

Addresses: School of Business, Lappeenranta University of Technology, P.O. Box 20, 53851, Lappeenranta, Finland

Abstract: This study reviews the recent empirical studies on knowledge sharing in Virtual Communities (VCs). The paper begins with an analysis of the VC conceptualisation and the focal phenomenon of knowledge sharing. Secondly, the factors that seem to facilitate knowledge-sharing activities in VCs are identified and categorised as individual motivations, personal characteristics, technical attributes and community-level social capital. Overall, the results demonstrate a strong emphasis on why individuals engage in such activities, but less attention is given to what is being shared and how the processes of sharing are manifested in practice. The paper concludes with some suggestions for further research.

Keywords: virtual communities; knowledge sharing; contribution; participation; motivation; social capital; web based communities; online communities; personal characteristics; technical attributes.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2009.023962

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2009 Vol.5 No.2, pp.144 - 163

Published online: 22 Mar 2009 *

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