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Abstract

Knowledge reuse is of increasing importance for organizations. Despite the extant research, we still do not adequately understand the ways peers are motivated to reuse knowledge with the help of wiki technologies. In this paper, we study the motivation for knowledge reuse in a prominent instance of online social production: Wikipedia. Studying knowledge reuse in Wikipedia is important since Wikipedia has been able to leverage the benefits of efficient knowledge reuse to produce knowledge goods of relatively high quality. Specifically, we explore: 1) how Wikipedia editors (any peer who contributes to developing articles in Wikipedia) communicate their feedback toward each other’s work in peer conversations and 2) to what extent sentiment-driven feedback impacts the level of knowledge reuse in Wikipedia. The results show that displaying sentiment-driven feedback positively influenced the level of knowledge reuse. Our study further shows a significant difference in the level of knowledge reuse between editors who shared mainly positive or mainly negative sentiments. Specifically, displaying mainly positive feedback corresponded to a superior level of knowledge reuse than displaying mainly negative feedback. We contribute to the extant literature of online social production communities in general and Wikipedia in particular by providing a first building block for research on peer feedback’s role in developing and sustaining wiki-based knowledge reuse. We discuss our findings’ implications for theory and practice.

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