Identifying factors that encourage and hinder knowledge sharing in a longstanding online community of practice
Despite the strong interests among practitioners, there is a knowledge gap with regard to online communities of practice. This study examines knowledge sharing among critical-care and advanced-practice nurses, who are engaged in a longstanding online community of practice. Data were collected about members’ online knowledge contribution as well as motivations for sharing or not sharing knowledge with others. In sum, 27 interviews with members and content analysis of approximately 400 messages were conducted. Data analysis showed that the most common types of knowledge shared were “Institutional Practice” and “Personal Opinion”. Five factors were found that helped motivate knowledge sharing: (a) self-selection type of membership, (b) desire to improve the nursing profession, (c) reciprocity, (d) a non-competitive environment, and (e) the role of the listserv moderator. Regarding barriers for knowledge sharing, four were found: (a) no new or additional knowledge to add, (b) unfamiliarity with subject, (c) lack of time, and (d) technology. These results will be informative to researchers and practitioners of online communities of practice.