Knowledge sharing by entrepreneurs in a virtual community of practice (VCoP)

Hafeez, Khalid and Alghatas, Fathalla M. and Foroudi, Pantea and Nguyen, Bang and Gupta, Suraksha (2019) Knowledge sharing by entrepreneurs in a virtual community of practice (VCoP). Information Technology & People, 32 (2). pp. 405-429. ISSN 0959-3845

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Abstract

Purpose. This paper examines how entrepreneurs engage in a Virtual Community of Practice (VCoP) to share knowledge. Intensity of engagement is taken as a proxy to measure the strength of knowledge sharing.

Design/methodology/approach. The archival data spanning over a three-year period from ‘Start-up-Nation©’ (a VCoP purposefully setup for entrepreneurs) is used for analysis. A set of indices are introduced to measure participants’ intensity of engagement in terms of message length, message frequency and reciprocity in the knowledge sharing process. Content analysis is employed to test a sample of ‘highly engaged’, ‘moderately engaged’, ‘low engaged’ and ‘not engaged’ discussion topics as part of the on-line discourse.

Findings. We find that entrepreneurs normally use short (fewer than 100 words) or medium (fewer than 250 words) message size to contribute to the discussions. In addition, we find that senior members and discussion moderators play important roles in igniting the ‘reciprocity’ behaviour in stimulating the interest of the community with the topic discussion. We also find that highly engaged topics usually lead to further discussion threads.

Originality/value. This is the first study of its kind to explore how entrepreneurs engage in a VCoP to share their knowledge and experiences. The set of measurement indices tested here provide a tool for the owner, designer and moderator of the VCoP to measure the utility of their website in terms of its members’ participation. In addition, the set of textual and subjective interventions identified here enable the moderator (administrator) of a VCoP to design effective interventions to facilitate on-line discourse and augment the knowledge sharing process amongst its community members.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Marketing, Branding and Tourism
Item ID: 24379
Notes on copyright: This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here (https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/24379/). Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited. This is the accepted version of the manuscript "Knowledge sharing by entrepreneurs in a virtual community of practice (VCoP)", published in the journal "Information Technology & People" available via the journal site at: https://doi.org/10.1108/itp-09-2016-0202
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Depositing User: Pantea Foroudi
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2018 16:49
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2019 15:04
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/24379

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