PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to identify the factors influencing the growth of healthcare virtual communities of practice (VCoPs) through a seven-year longitudinal study conducted using metrics from social-network and semantic analysis. By studying online communication along the three dimensions of social interactions (connectivity, interactivity and language use), the authors aim to provide VCoP managers with valuable insights to improve the success of their communities.Design/methodology/approachCommunications over a period of seven years (April 2008 to April 2015) and between 14,000 members of 16 different healthcare VCoPs coexisting on the same web platform were analysed. Multilevel regression models were used to reveal the main determinants of community growth over time. Independent variables were derived from social network and semantic analysis measures.FindingsResults show that structural and content-based variables predict the growth of the community. Progressively, more people will join a community if its structure is more centralised, leaders are more dynamic (they rotate more) and the language used in the posts is less complex.Research limitations/implicationsThe available data set included one Web platform and a limited number of control variables. To consolidate the findings of the present study, the experiment should be replicated on other healthcare VCoPs.Originality/valueThe study provides useful recommendations for setting up and nurturing the growth of professional communities, considering, at the same time, the interaction patterns among the community members, the dynamic evolution of these interactions and the use of language. New analytical tools are presented, together with the use of innovative interaction metrics, that can significantly influence community growth, such as rotating leadership.
Journal of Knowledge Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 11, 2017
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera