Yet Another Platform? Motivational Factors for Using Online Communities in Business Contexts
Authors: Ann-Kathrin Löcker, Denise Eraßme, Eva-Maria Jakobs, Anne Kathrin Schaar, André Calero Valdez, Martina Ziefle
Abstract: As a consequence of ongoing globalization processes and demographic change, many small and medium-sized companies face the problem of knowledge loss. To counteract this, companies are adopting Web 2.0 applications to accumulate and store the knowledge of their employees. However, little is known about the circumstances under which employees are willing to invest time in social media as a part of their work routine. Thus, this paper introduces an exploratory case study focusing the motivational factors that influence the use of an online expert community in business context. The results of the performed focus groups and interviews show that particularly intrinsic motivational factors are considered to be relevant. The attitude towards extrinsic motivational factors and related tangible motivational factors is highly controversial, whereas intangible motivational factors such as social and organizational motivational factors seem to have a positive impact on the motivation to use an intra-organizational online communities (OC). Supplementary motivational factors mentioned by the interviewees refer to the platform itself. Overall, the results indicate that the implementation of Web 2.0 applications in business contexts requires a tailored incentive system that suits to the company-specific requirements and takes into account the employees’ needs.
Keywords: Demographic Change, Knowledge Management, Knowledge Sharing, Web 2.0, Online Communities, Motivation, Incentives, Expert Communities
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