Factors impacting the effectiveness of personal knowledge exchanges

[German title: Faktoren, die die Effektivität von Wissensmärkten beeinflussen]

Sanjay Gosain
Mobilizing software expertise in personal knowledge exchanges*
The Journal of Strategic Information Systems
Volume 16, Issue 3, September 2007, Pages 254-277

Abstract: Personal knowledge exchanges (PKEs) are Web-based markets that match seekers and providers of knowledge and facilitate the pricing and transfer of knowledge assets. They show significant potential to function as infrastructure for the “elance-economy.” This study examines transactions for software expertise in a personal knowledge exchange. It evaluates the mobilization of knowledge in terms of the speed and the number of knowledge providers that are matched to a knowledge request. Hypotheses are proposed based on transaction costs imposed by the characteristics of knowledge. We also study the impact of safeguarding and coordination mechanisms that may help overcome challenges to PKE use. We find that knowledge mobilization in the PKE is adversely impacted by knowledge transfer costs due to the tacitness, situatedness, and complexity of knowledge that is sought. To a lesser extent, knowledge mobilization is adversely affected by the likelihood of opportunistic behavior as indicated by the reputation ratings of the individual requesting the knowledge. The study enables a better understanding of the factors impacting the effectiveness of personal knowledge exchanges and provides important managerial implications for shaping their development.

Keywords: Personal knowledge exchanges; Transaction cost economics; Electronic markets

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* An earlier version of this paper was presented in the Organizational Communication and Information Systems (OCIS) track at Academy of Management Meeting (Seattle) in August 2003.

Copyright © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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