This work tests the applicability of the analytical concepts and assumptions of social exchange theory to information markets, and the potential for this to generate further theory related to information and knowledge sharing. It builds on previous work which proposed that social exchange theory may be a suitable framework for exploring how information and knowledge sharing is motivated. It is proposed that the applicability of social exchange theory to information and knowledge sharing practice depends on the availability of rewards for contributing to the community’s knowledge-base. Where incentives for information and knowledge sharing are limited to intangible, soft rewards such as enhancement of reputation (as opposed to explicit hard rewards such a pay) socially-cohesive sub-groups more readily co-operate together, adopting a “learning model” of exchange. This work is supported by funding from the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, and is being conducted in association with Dr Gunilla Widén-Wulff of the Åbo Akademi University, Finland.
Can the analytical concepts and assumptions of social
exchange theory be applied to information markets? Will this help to generate further
theory related to information and knowledge sharing?
This study used social exchange theory as a framework for
exploring how information and knowledge sharing is motivated, examining online exchanges
between members of a defined community of bloggers. It demonstrated that people
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. It also indicated that social rewards, such as
approval of the quality of work and validation of an individual’s membership of the group, are
important motivations. These are in the gift of the community, and are more
powerful as incentives for participation than any hard rewards on offer (which,
in this case, was a mark for the work completed in the gift of community
outsiders in the person of the module tutors). There is also some evidence to
suggest that, as the online environment develops, the desire to reciprocate
contact grows amongst participants as they “learn” this mode of behaviour. In
this case it is suggested that a gift economy may have emerged more strongly
had the duration of the study extended longer.
The work was supported by funding from the Carnegie Trust
for the Universities of Scotland, and conducted in association with Dr Gunilla
Widén-Wulff of the Åbo Akademi University, Finland.
Information sharing, exchange, reward and social capital is a Research - Other Sources project funded by Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.
Carried out in collaboration with Lorraine Paterson, Dr Gunilla Widén-Wulff and others.
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The findings of this research will contribute to strategies to improve citizen engagement in the democratic process at community level. Its main aims are: 1. To evaluate how Community Councillors (1) access and understand information on their duties and rights; (2) keep up to date with local...
InGSoc (Informing the Good Society: New Directions in Information Policy) is a three-year project, funded by an Arts and Humanities Research Council standard grant. The project, whose common thread is the social impact of information and technology and relevant public policy issues, has three...
The ESRC Information Science Pathway is one of 24 accredited training pathways within the Scottish ESRC Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) of the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS). This is part of a £20 million investment in the UK's largest DTC, which awards 65 studentships to...
Information Management and Presentation for Research Activity and Related Data. A linked intranet and internet solution for the managing and presentation of data concerning the research related activties of university researchers.
To create the ability in Payfont to research and deliver, using Universal Design principles and processes based on BS8878, the optimal secure user experience (UX) in secure transactions
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Peterson, L. (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), 117-128.
Davison, B. (2009, June). Shared relationships, spaces and online information behaviours: a social exchange and capital perspective. Paper presented at Information: Interactions and Impact (i3), Aberdeen.
Hall, H. (2009, November). Shared relationships, spaces and online information behaviours: a social exchange and social capital perspective. Paper presented at ASIST 2009: Thriving on diversity - information opportunities in a pluralistic world, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Widen-Wulff, G. (2008). Social exchange, social capital and information sharing in online environments: lessons from three case studies. Studia Humaniora Ouluensia, 8, (), 73-86.
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