Knowledge Sharing by Entrepreneurs in a Virtual Community of Practice (VCoP)
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine 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) are 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 online discourse. Findings The authors 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, the authors 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. The authors 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 enables the moderator (administrator) of a VCoP to design effective interventions to facilitate online discourse and augments the knowledge sharing process amongst its community members
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Citation : Hafeez, K., Alghatas, F., Foroudi, P., Nguyen, B. Gupta, S. (2018) Knowledge sharing by entrepreneurs in a virtual community of practice (VCoP). Information Technology & People,
ISSN : 0959-3845
Peer Reviewed : Yes