Motivating Online Expertise-Sharing for Informal Learning: The Influence of Age and Tenure in Knowledge Organizations

This paper examines motivations of knowledge workers to contribute expertise to online knowledge repositories that support informal learning, and presents findings from both a survey and an experimental study. Results indicate that younger workers and those new to an organization, are more motivated by ‘self-interest’ factors such as gaining name recognition and impressing management, while older workers, and those with a longer tenure, are motivated by more altruistic factors such as sharing and mentoring. These findings point to a need for designers of expertise-sharing systems to emphasize attributes that rapidly build a sense of community, as well as structuring rewards that appropriately motivate those that are new to the community who will not be satisfied by the intrinsic values alone.

By: David Huffaker; Jennifer Lai

Published in: RC24440 in 2007


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