Understanding online knowledge community user continuance. A social cognitive theory perspective

Published date02 July 2018
Date02 July 2018
AuthorTao Zhou
Subject MatterLibrary & information science,Librarianship/library management,Library technology,Information behaviour & retrieval,Metadata,Information & knowledge management,Information & communications technology,Internet
Understanding online knowledge
community user continuance
A social cognitive theory perspective
Tao Zhou
School of Management, Hangzhou Dianzi University, Hangzhou, China
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to draw on the social cognitive theory to identify the determinants of
online knowledge community user continuance, which reflects a users continued use.
Design/methodology/approach Based on the 271 valid responses collected from a survey, structural
equation modelling was employed to examine the research model.
Findings The results indicated that the cognitive factors of outcome expectation and the environmental
factors of system quality and knowledge quality significantly affect a users continuance intention, which, in
turn, affects continuance usage.
Research limitations/implications The results imply that service providers need to enhance
community platforms and improve knowledge quality in order to retain users and facilitate their continuance.
Originality/value Although previous research has examined online knowledge community user
behaviour from multiple perspectives such as the social exchange theory and the motivational theory, it has
seldom explored the relative effects of personal cognitions and environmental factors on user behaviour. This
research fills the gap.
Keywords Self-efficacy, Social cognitive theory, System quality, Knowledge quality,
Outcome expectation, Online knowledge communities
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
Online knowledge communities provide places for users to share their knowledge, expertise,
experience and insights between each other (Yan and Jian, 2017). Compared to traditional
communities, knowledge communities are more professional and users can exchange
knowledge related to specialised topics s uch as health, academics and software
development. A typical example is Quora, which represents a question and answer
(Q&A) community. Users can seek professional knowledge from other members in the
community ( Jin et al., 2015). They can also contribute their knowledge to those who need it.
In addition to sharing knowledge, users can conduct social interactions with other members.
They can tag and vote to their interested persons and topics. Besides these Q&A
communities, there are other types of knowledge communities such as discussion boards
and forums. According to a recent report, 58.3 per cent of users expect to obtain knowledge
and help on social networking communities, whereas 54.8 per cent of them expect to share
their knowledge (CNNIC, 2016). This suggests that knowledge sharing and acquisition has
been popular among community users.
Although online knowledge communities have received wide adoption among users,
there are a few problems associated with them. For example, knowledge quality needs to be
improved as a few users posted many irrelevant and poor quality contents (Chou et al.,
2015). In addition, a large number of users acquired much knowledge from other members
but contributed little in the community (Hung et al., 2015). A report indicated that about
64.6 per cent of online buyers have never shared their purchase experience on the internet Data Technologies and
Vol. 52 No. 3, 2018
pp. 445-458
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/DTA-10-2017-0077
Received 27 October 2017
Revised 5 March 2018
1 May 2018
Accepted 11 June 2018
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
This work wassupported by National Natural ScienceFoundation of China (71771069,71371004), NSFC-
Zhejiang Joint Fund for the Integration of Industrialization and Informatization (U1509220), and the
Research Centerof Information Technology & Economic andSocial Development in Zhejiang Province.
community user

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