International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss

Modeling Contextual Factors Affecting Online Participation in Communities of Practice (Cops) in Corporate Entities
Victor Katoma, Donna Hendrix

Communities of practice (CoPs) play a critical role in delivery and sharing of knowledge. Apart from the easy expression of explicitly knowledge, the dynamic processes and complex interactions in online CoPs do mediate the creation and transfer of tacit knowledge as well. This is inferred from the many ways CoPs have revolutionalized the ways in which context-specific knowledge is shared virtually across the globe (Donna, 2007). However, sharing of knowledge, especially across and between far spaced domains such as cultures, systems and persona is difficult to accomplish due to the tacitness tendency of such knowledge (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995; Almeida, Song, & Grant, 2002; Doz, Santo & Williamson, 2001). This is largely because knowledge is also influenced by contextualised domain factors which have a strong bearing on sharing and participation. This paper investigated the factors affecting online participation in CoPs. A group of online participants were engaged from three multinational corporate entities. The study focused on a three level participation framework determined by; organizational culture, online systems and individual motivation. Systems emerged to be the highest cause of participation followed by motivation and lastly culture. Construct validities using contextual variables as covariates, such as ease of system use (system level), perceived leadership support (organization level) and intrinsic motivation(individual level) further revealed that a participation model can be derived. An adequate participation model fit emerged with: Chi-square (χ2) of 14, the RMSEA at 0.0187 with a p-value of 0.979. The goodness of fit index was 0.995, the comparative fit index was 0.999 and the adjusted goodness of fit index was 0.984.

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