Prior studies on knowledge contribution started with the motivating role of social capital to predict knowledge contribution but did not specifically examine how they can be built in the first place. Our research addresses this gap by highlighting the role technology plays in supporting the development of social capital and eventual knowledge sharing intention. Herein, we propose four technology-based social capital builders – identity profiling, sub-community building, feedback mechanism, and regulatory practice – and theorize that individuals’ use of these IT artifacts determine the formation of social capital, which in turn, motivate knowledge contribution in online communities. Data collected from 253 online community users provide support for the proposed structural model. The results show that use of IT artifacts facilitates the formation of social capital (network ties, shared language, identification, trust in online community, and norms of cooperation) and their effects on knowledge contribution operate indirectly through social capital.
Law, Sally Pul-Man and Chang, Man Kit, "Fostering Knowledge Exchange in Online Communities: A Social Capital Building Approach" (2008). ICIS 2008 Proceedings. 173.