- David against Goliath? Group size and bystander effects in virtual knowledge sharing
- Human Relations
- Volume | Issue number
- 61 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Knowledge management has been identified as a key factor for sustaining a competitive advantage in today’s corporate world. A fundamental aspect of knowledge management in a global economy is the sharing of information in online groups. Most researchers and
practitioners have so far assumed that a large knowledge sharing group increases response rates, velocity of receiving a response and quality. However, psychological research under the umbrella of the so-called bystander effect suggests counter-intuitively that, with an increase in group size, the likelihood of helping decreases. This study
provides empirical support for the fact that a) the bystander effect is also present in virtual (knowledge sharing) environments, b) that group size influences response quality and c) that the negative impact of social inhibition might decrease again in very large groups. The
practical trade-offs that managers have to take into account when designing knowledge sharing forums are discussed.
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