Both scholars and practitioners recognize the importance of newcomers’ contribution behavior in online social groups. However, extant research has largely focused on existing members’ behavior, leaving the issue of newcomers’ contribution behavior relatively unexplored. This research proposes a theoretical framework for understanding why newcomers engage in contribution processes, how group engagement leads to normative pressure, and whether normative pressure has curvilinear effects on information contributions. Drawing on the theory of engagement, we propose that newcomer group engagement, characterized by vigor, dedication, and absorption, exerts dual effects on information contributions. We also argue that newcomers who personally engage in contribution processes tend to reveal three key psychological conditions: meaningfulness (i.e., a sense of return on investments of the self in contribution processes), safety (i.e., a sense of being able to show and express oneself without fear of negative consequences), and availability (i.e., a sense of readiness to engage personally in contribution processes). We further investigate a focal antecedent for each psychological condition. Using multisource data collected at three points in time, this research finds that value congruence, perceived group support, and contribution self-efficacy positively influence newcomer group engagement, which in turn leads to greater information contribution behaviors. This study also shows that greater group engagement can initiate a spiral of social role expectations, leading to heightened levels of normative pressure. Moreover, normative pressure has an inverted U-shaped relationship with information contribution behavior. These findings offer both theoretical and practical implications.
Tsai, Hsien-Tung and Pai, Peiyu
"Too Engaged to Contribute? An Exploration of Antecedents and Dual Consequences of Newcomer Engagement in Online Social Groups,"
Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 22(5), 1311-1333.
Available at: https://aisel.aisnet.org/jais/vol22/iss5/6
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