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Determinants of knowledge seeking in professional virtual communities
Abstract and Figures
As knowledge management systems within organisations, professional virtual communities (PVCs) are popular knowledge-seeking tools, which bring together geographically dispersed members from outside of the organisations. An increasing number of employees use PVCs for knowledge seeking, knowledge exchange and problem solving at work. Why do members choose to receive knowledge from other community members in PVCs needs to be understood. This paper extends Ajzen's [1991. The theory of planned behaviour. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50 (2), 179–211] theory of planned behaviour to elicit external beliefs in terms of personal motivation, as well as technological and social factors, and to examine the relative importance of these factors. According to this study's online survey of 323 members in three PVCs, the results show that the significance of beliefs, such as system quality, compatibility, trust, knowledge growth and knowledge quality, in creating positive attitudes towards knowledge seeking. Community identification is shown as a salient belief for the subjective norms of knowledge seeking. System quality and resource availability are revealed as important determinants for perceived behavioural control of knowledge seeking. Knowledge-seeking intention is based on the attitude towards knowledge seeking and the subjective norm of knowledge seeking, whereas knowledge-seeking behaviour is solely determined by knowledge-seeking intention. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
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