Which problems to solve? Attention allocation and online knowledge sharing in organizations

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Title: Which problems to solve? Attention allocation and online knowledge sharing in organizations
Author(s): Haas, M
Criscuolo, P
George, G
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Why do individuals allocate attention to specific problems in organizations? Viewing online knowledge sharing as a matching process between knowledge providers and problems, we examine attention allocation in the context of an online community within which knowledge providers respond to problems posted by other organization members. We argue that knowledge providers are more likely to allocate attention to solving problems that more closely match their expertise, but that decisions to allocate attention are also influenced by problem characteristics such as length, breadth, and novelty, as well as by problem crowding. Analyzing 1,251 realized matches and 12,510 nonrealized matches among knowledge providers and problems posted over a 32-month period on an online discussion forum within a global engineering firm, we find evidence to support our claim that attention allocation is driven by the features of a particular provider–problem match, thereby shifting the discourse from knowledge provider–seeker relationships to knowledge provider–problem matches. The implications for theories of knowledge sharing, matching processes, and managerial attention are discussed.
Publication Date: 1-Jun-2015
Date of Acceptance: 24-Jul-2014
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/51966
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.5465/amj.2013.0263
ISSN: 0001-4273
Publisher: Academy of Management
Start Page: 680
End Page: 711
Journal / Book Title: Academy of Management Journal
Volume: 58
Issue: 3
Copyright Statement: © Academy of Management Journal. Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License
Sponsor/Funder: Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
Funder's Grant Number: ES/H046569/1
Keywords: Social Sciences
Business
Management
Business & Economics
COGNITIVE LOAD THEORY
ABSORPTIVE-CAPACITY
VIRTUAL COMMUNITIES
WEAK TIES
INFORMATION-TECHNOLOGY
ALLIANCE FORMATION
NETWORK STRUCTURE
VISUAL-ATTENTION
SOCIAL NETWORKS
MATCHING THEORY
1503 Business And Management
1505 Marketing
Business & Management
Publication Status: Published
Appears in Collections:Imperial College Business School



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