sharing in virtual communities
An integration of expectancy disconﬁrmation
and justice theories
Department of Information Management, National Sun Yat-sen University,
Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, ROC, and
Eric T.G. Wang, Fu-Jong Shih and Yi-Wen Fan
Department of Information Management, National Central University,
Jhongli City, Taiwan, ROC
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the motivations behind people’s intentions to
continue knowledge sharing (continuance intention) in open professional virtual communities.
Design/methodology/approach – Data collected from 270 members of a professional virtual
community provides partial support for the proposed model. LISREL 8.5 was used to analyse the
measurement and structural models.
Findings – The results show that playfulness is critical for the community members’ satisfaction and
continuance intention. However, only positive self-worth disconﬁrmation, distributive justice, and
interactional justice can inﬂuence the satisfaction of the community members.
Research limitations/implications – The data were collected from a single open professional
community; the generalisation of the model and ﬁndings to other virtual communities requires
additional research. The ﬁndings imply that justice factors appear to be important in leading to higher
Practical implications – Developers of virtual communities should create a more enjoyable online
environment and raise the core knowledge contributors’ sense of self-worth.
Originality/value – A theoretical model was constructed in which individual motivation factors,
social network factors, and justice theory are integrated with expectancy disconﬁrmation theory to
investigate the motivations behind people’s continuance intention.
Keywords Knowledge sharing, Virtual work, Open systems, Communities, Professional associations
Paper type Research paper
Open professional virtual communities are based on voluntary participation and weak
ties, typical of relationships among casual acquaintances and strangers. Encouraging
individuals to participate and share knowledge in a virtual community is a difﬁcult
task due to weak-tie relationships and no extrinsic monetary rewards for knowledge
contribution. Hence the biggest challenge in fostering a virtual community is the
supply of knowledge, i.e. the willingness to share knowledge with other members. The
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This research was partially supported by the National Science Council (NSC), Taiwan, ROC,
under grant number 94-2416-H-008-015.
Refereed article received
20 February 2010
Approved for publication
25 June 2010
Online Information Review
Vol. 35 No. 1, 2011
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited