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Not what you know, nor who you know, but who you know already: examining online information sharing behaviours through the lens of social exchange theory

Hall, Hazel, Widen-Wulff, Gunilla and Paterson, Lorraine (2010) Not what you know, nor who you know, but who you know already: examining online information sharing behaviours through the lens of social exchange theory. Libri, 60 (2). pp. 117-128. ISSN 0024-2667

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Abstract/Description

This paper focuses on the extent to which online information sharing practice is socially motivated. A key interest is how knowledge of the existing social connections between actors may predict their information sharing behaviour when they move into an online environment, and the relative importance of these connections when set against other factors that may motivate online information sharing within a closed group. The examination of online information exchanges between members of a defined community of bloggers reveals that those with established off-line relationships are more likely to interact with one another when they move into an online environment than those who have not enjoyed earlier contact. The findings of the empirical study are evaluated with reference to social exchange theory, with acknowledgement of the importance of shared social capital as a prerequisite for the efficient operation of work-groups, both in face-to-face and online environments. It is concluded that social exchange theory can be deployed as a means of explaining online information sharing behaviours. The study findings have implications for the design of environments for purposes of online information sharing, especially in terms of the provision of substitutes for physical proximity in distributed organisations, the operation of reward systems, and expectations for communities to develop their own information sharing ecologies.

Item Type: Article
Print ISSN: 0024-2667
Electronic ISSN: 1865-8423
Uncontrolled Keywords: online information sharing; blogging; off-line relationships; social exchange theory;
University Divisions/Research Centres: Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Creative Industries > School of Computing
Dewey Decimal Subjects: 000 Computer science, information & general works > 000 Computer science, knowledge & systems > 006 Special Computer Methods > 006.3 Artificial intelligence
300 Social sciences > 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 302 Social interaction
Library of Congress Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Item ID: 3758
Depositing User: Computing Research
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2010 11:36
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 10:41
URI: http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/id/eprint/3758

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