Exploring the Effects of Sense of Membership on Information Sharing in Virtual Communities


Chuan Luo
Han Li
Xin (Robert) Luo
Xiaocong Cui


A virtual community (VC) is a cyberspace in which members exchange information for mutual benefit in terms of learning and problem-solving. Drawing upon and extending the theory of uses and gratifications (U&G), this study proposes a research model that integrates U&G with the sense of membership (SOM) to explore their effects on individuals’ information-sharing intentions. 1,280 valid responses were collected from six Chinese information exchange VCs through an online survey. The results show that anticipative reputation, vertical relationship, horizontal relationship, reciprocity, enjoyment gratification, and SOM can directly affect individuals’ information-sharing intentions. Additionally, SOM moderates the effects of anticipative reputation, vertical relationship, horizontal relationship, relative advantage, and enjoyment. These findings highlight the importance of SOM for moderating information-sharing tendencies not only for researchers but also for practitioners of VCs. Our extended U&G model could serve as a valuable theoretical foundation for future studies to gain a fine-tuned understanding of information-sharing decisions in VC contexts.

Key Word: 

Published Date: 

May, 2023

Full File: