chapter  4
42 Pages

An Integrated Model of Knowledge Sharing in Contemporary Communication Environments

Why do people share (or withhold) knowledge through online public knowledge management systems (KMS)? What benefi ts and costs might they experience from doing so? How does one’s ability to cognitively integrate the knowledge shared through a KMS affect these costs and benefi ts? Sharing knowledge, both contributing and collecting, requires active communication and engagement with others; involves complex issues about knowledge, governance structures and public goods, and individual and collective costs and benefi ts, and is increasingly done through online public knowledge management systems. An interdisciplinary review of these issues leads to an integrated model of individual and collective infl uences on knowledge sharing behavior through, and use of, knowledge management systems. Primary contributions of the model include the role of cognitive integration in mediating between a knowledge management system’s use and resulting costs and benefi ts, and the notion that such costs and benefi ts can occur at both the individual and collective level.