Knowledge sharing is an important activity in virtual communities (VC). Recently, some researchers have explored various motivators that may influence VC members' contribution. Although providing rewards has been found to significantly motivate employees to share knowledge in organizational research, it also has been found to diminish intrinsic motivation and lead to reduced efforts in some cases psychology literature. The phenomenon that external intervention (e.g. monetary incentives or punishments) may either undermine (crowd-out) or enhance (crowd-in) intrinsic motivation is called the motivation crowding effect. Based on the motivation crowding theory, this study investigated the moderating effect of monetary incentives on the relationships of motivations and members' intention for knowledge sharing. The research framework includes two motivational factors, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, for knowledge sharing in virtual communities. The model was tested using a field experiment on 204 VC members of two different virtual communities. The results confirmed the existence of the crowding effect. That is, the relationship between intrinsic motivation and knowledge sharing intention was significantly lowered after the treatment of monetary incentives. The findings suggest that VC managers should carefully consider providing monetary rewards in promoting their websites because monetary incentives can potentially affect the knowledge-sharing behavior of VC members.


Knowledge Sharing, Virtual Community, Rewards, Intrinsic Motivation, Extrinsic Motivation, Motivation Crowding Theory


ISBN: [978-1-86435-644-1]; Full paper