Knowledge sharing in virtual communities: A social exchange theory perspective

Li Jinyang


Purpose: The author tried to identify the knowledge sharing behaviors on the internet, using structural equation modeling methods, proposing a model based on social exchange theory in which share willingness, trust, reciprocity, altruism tended to have impact on people’s knowledge sharing behaviors in virtual communities.

Design/methodology/approach: We presented an empirical research which integrated social exchange theory and structural equation modeling methods to analyze several important factors influencing members’ knowledge sharing behaviors in virtual communities.

Findings: We analyzed the knowledge sharing behaviors in virtual communities. We found that members’ altruism can not predict knowledge sharing behaviors. We also found that members’ sharing willingness is the most important factor on virtual community knowledge sharing behaviors compared with trust, reciprocity and altruism.

Originality/value: From the perspective of social exchange theory, we did empirical test and verified the proposed research model by using structural equation modeling methods. Our finding can help recognize people’s incentive about knowledge sharing.


Virtual communities, Knowledge sharing, sharing behaviors

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Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 2008-2022

Online ISSN: 2013-0953; Print ISSN: 2013-8423; Online DL: B-28744-2008

Publisher: OmniaScience