A Calculus of Virtual Community Knowledge Intentions: Anonymity and Perceived Network-Structure

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Date of Original Version



This study investigates the underlying motivational factors of knowledge exchange intentions (intention to obtain and to provide knowledge) within virtual community contexts. Perceived virtual network structures, namely virtual network connectivity (CN) and virtual network closeness (CL), are suggested as the important antecedents of knowledge sharing intentions in the context of virtual knowledge exchange communities. Anonymity (AN), one of the unique characteristics of virtual communities, but controversial due to its multi-faceted effects, is considered in a structural model as a factor having an impact on a virtual network structure. Data collected from participants of virtual communities through online surveys are analyzed using Partial Least Squares (PLS) structural equation modeling (SEM) to empirically test the proposed hypotheses. The results reveal that both CN and CL have a significant impact on both of the knowledge exchange intentions although CL shows an opposite direction of the impact. The results also show that AN has a significant impact on CL as expected but not on CN. Implications of this study may shed some light on better understanding community participants’ intentions to obtain and provide knowledge, along with the impact of anonymity on the perceived network structure.

Publication Title

Journal of Computer Information Systems