Following Nahapiet and Ghoshal’s (1998) theoretical model, communities of practice (social capital) are defined in terms of three distinct dimensions: comprised structural, relational, and cognitive. Among the most important facets of the structural dimension is the presence or absence of social interaction ties between actors (Scott, J. 1991). Among the most key facets of the relational dimension are trust (Cohen, D. & Prusak 2001), norm of reciprocity (Putnam 2000), and identification (Nahapiet & Ghoshal 1998). Among the most key facets of the cognitive dimension is shared vision (Cohen, D. & Prusak 2001; Tsai & Ghoshal 1998).
• Social interaction ties
Tsai and Ghoshal (1998) conceptualise social interaction ties (network ties) as channels for information and resource flows. Granovetter (1973) describes network tie strength as a combination of the amount of time, the emotional intensity, and intimacy (mutual confiding), and the reciprocal services that characterise the network tie. In this study, social interaction ties represent the strength of the relationships, and the amount of time spent, and communication frequency among members of community. Nahapiet and Ghoshal (1998, p. 252) argue that “the fundamental proposition of the Social Capital Theory is that network ties provide access to resources”.
Larson (1992) and Van de Ven (1986) note that the more social interactions undertaken by exchange partners, the greater the intensity, frequency, and breadth of knowledge exchanged. Knowledge is important in providing a basis for action but is costly to obtain. The social interaction ties among members of a community allow a cost-effective way of accessing a wider range of knowledge sources. Nahapiet and Ghoshal (1998) argue that network ties influence both access to parties for combining and exchanging knowledge and anticipation of value through such exchange. Furthermore, network ties provide the opportunity to combine and exchange knowledge. Recent studies have provided empirical support for the influence of social interaction ties on interunit resource exchange and combination(Tsai & Ghoshal 1998). Accordingly, Hypothesis H3a is as follow:
H3a: The more social interaction ties the individuals have, the greater will be their KM activities.
Trust has been viewed as a set of specific beliefs dealing primarily with the integrity, benevolence, and ability of another party in the management literature (Gefen, Karahanna & Straub 2003; Mayer, Davis & Schoorman 1995). This study focuses on integrity, which refers to an individual’s expectation that members in a community will follow a generally accepted set of values, norms, and principles. Trust has been recognised as an important antecedent of IS group performance (Nelson & Cooprider 1996), intellectual capital exchange (Nahapiet & Ghoshal 1998), and knowledge sharing in communities (Ridings, Gefen & Arinze 2002).
Nahapiet and Ghoshal (1998) suggest that when trust...