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Title: Achieving knowledge sharing outcomes through the activation of social capital in virtural communities : evidence from Chinese online social network communities
Other Titles: Tong guo qi dong she hui zi ben zai xu ni she qun zhong shi xian zhi shi fen xiang : lai zi Zhongguo she jiao wang lu she qu de fa xian
通過啟動社會資本在虛擬社群中實現知識分享 : 來自中國社交網路社區的發現
Authors: Tian, Wen ( 田雯)
Department: Department of Information Systems
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: City University of Hong Kong
Subjects: Knowledge management -- China.
Online social networks -- China.
Social capital (Sociology) -- China.
Notes: CityU Call Number: HD30.2 .T497 2011
ix, 273 leaves 30 cm.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--City University of Hong Kong, 2011.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 220-235)
Type: thesis
Abstract: A key challenge that managers and administrators face today is how knowledge sharing can be achieved efficiently and effectively in the changing form of organizations, e.g., Online Social Network (OSN) communities. With the prevalence of Social Network Services (SNS), the way individuals mutually exchange their tacit and explicit knowledge and jointly create new knowledge varies significantly from that of past decades. There is increasing evidence that such a process is inherently a social and situated process that is strongly impacted by characteristics of social capital. However, traditionally, research on the link between social capital and knowledge sharing has taken a relatively static and single dimensional approach, thus failing to capture the rapidly changing dynamics of social capital initiation, maintenance and activation, especially brought about by Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in an OSN environment. This consequently changes how individuals' knowledge sharing behaviors change. However, relatively little is known about explicit knowledge sharing in Chinese OSN communities, given the unique social and cultural characteristics of this environment. Guanxi is a strong orientation embedded in social relationships in Chinese culture, which has been considered a necessary condition to do business successfully in China, and is viewed in this thesis as a source of social capital. This thesis analyzes whether the SNS-supported: 1) structural, 2) relational, and 3) cognitive dimensions of guanxi capital development affect individuals’ perceived guanxi capital accumulation and activation. Two types of knowledge sharing outcomes are then measured in OSN communities: 1) outward knowledge sharing, i.e., knowledge contribution quality, quantity and diversity (supply-side outcomes) and 2) inward knowledge sharing, i.e., knowledge sourcing adoption (demand-side outcomes). By adopting an integrative perspective, the individual properties, network properties, and knowledge sharing properties are considered simultaneously to explore the mechanisms by which knowledge sharing outcomes occur. The research setting included individuals from several Chinese OSN communities. Three studies are included in this thesis: Study 1 uses focus group interviews and discussions mainly for the purpose of generating variables and developing measures, Study 2 employs survey method to empirically test the hypotheses, and Study 3 uses the case study method to triangulate the findings in Study 2 and elaborate on the issues that emerged beyond Study 2. The results demonstrate a strong predicting power of perceived guanxi capital activation on individuals’ knowledge sharing outcomes in Chinese OSN communities. This establishes the theoretical link between social capital theory and guanxi capital, and justifies investigating knowledge sharing behavior from an integrative view. Both theoretical and practical implications are achieved. Limitations and directions for future studies are discussed, and conclusions are drawn.
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