Using Social Psychology to Motivate Contributions to Online Communities

Authors

  • Kimberly Ling,

    Corresponding author
    1. A Ph.D. student of Organizational Behavior and Theory at the Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University. Her research interests include motivation and social support in online communities, positive organizational behavior, and the impact of emotions on decision making.
    • Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: 4-192 EE/CS Building, 200 Union St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: 249 Mervis Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, Economics Department, 238 Lorch Hall, 611 Tappan St., Ann Arbor MI 48109-1220 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, 3210 SI North, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA

      Address: Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15221 USA

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  • Gerard Beenen,

    Corresponding author
    1. A Ph.D. student of Organizational Behavior and Theory at the Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University. His research focuses on work group effectiveness.
    • Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: 4-192 EE/CS Building, 200 Union St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: 249 Mervis Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, Economics Department, 238 Lorch Hall, 611 Tappan St., Ann Arbor MI 48109-1220 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, 3210 SI North, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA

      Address: Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15221 USA

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  • Pamela Ludford,

    Corresponding author
    1. A Ph.D. student at the University of Minnesota, Department of Computer Science. Her research currently focuses on technology for collaboration via mobile computing devices equipped with location-based information services. She is completing the design and implementation for a mobile technology called PlaceMail, which will allow people to leave (and access) notes for themselves and others at places they frequent. More information is available at http://www.cs.umn.edu/~ludford.
    • Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: 4-192 EE/CS Building, 200 Union St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: 249 Mervis Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, Economics Department, 238 Lorch Hall, 611 Tappan St., Ann Arbor MI 48109-1220 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, 3210 SI North, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA

      Address: Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15221 USA

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  • Xiaoqing Wang,

    Corresponding author
    1. A Ph.D. student in Management Information Systems at the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include online community maintenance, community tool design, user participation, and technology acceptance.
    • Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: 4-192 EE/CS Building, 200 Union St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: 249 Mervis Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, Economics Department, 238 Lorch Hall, 611 Tappan St., Ann Arbor MI 48109-1220 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, 3210 SI North, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA

      Address: Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15221 USA

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  • Klarissa Chang,

    Corresponding author
    1. A Ph.D. student of Organizational Behavior and Theory at the Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University. Her research interests include psychological contracts, social exchange and trust, ideological currency in distributed teams, knowledge management for remote workers, and social networks in virtual communities.
    • Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: 4-192 EE/CS Building, 200 Union St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: 249 Mervis Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, Economics Department, 238 Lorch Hall, 611 Tappan St., Ann Arbor MI 48109-1220 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, 3210 SI North, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA

      Address: Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15221 USA

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  • Xin Li,

    Corresponding author
    1. A graduate student at the Department of Economics University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her research interest lies in the areas of behavioral public economics, experimental economics, and economics of Internet.
    • Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: 4-192 EE/CS Building, 200 Union St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: 249 Mervis Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, Economics Department, 238 Lorch Hall, 611 Tappan St., Ann Arbor MI 48109-1220 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, 3210 SI North, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA

      Address: Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15221 USA

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  • Dan Cosley,

    Corresponding author
    1. A Ph.D. student in the Computer Science Department, University of Minnesota. His research interests include motivation in online communities, recommender systems, and the effects of technologies on the people that use them.
    • Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: 4-192 EE/CS Building, 200 Union St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: 249 Mervis Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, Economics Department, 238 Lorch Hall, 611 Tappan St., Ann Arbor MI 48109-1220 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, 3210 SI North, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA

      Address: Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15221 USA

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  • Dan Frankowski,

    Corresponding author
    1. A staff scientist in the Computer Science Department, University of Minnesota. His research interests are collaborative systems, recommender systems, and data mining.
    • Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: 4-192 EE/CS Building, 200 Union St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: 249 Mervis Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, Economics Department, 238 Lorch Hall, 611 Tappan St., Ann Arbor MI 48109-1220 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, 3210 SI North, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA

      Address: Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15221 USA

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  • Loren Terveen,

    Corresponding author
    1. An Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota. His research interests are human-computer interaction and computer-mediated communication. He is especially interested in the use of technology to help people create and develop strong social ties.
    • Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: 4-192 EE/CS Building, 200 Union St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: 249 Mervis Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, Economics Department, 238 Lorch Hall, 611 Tappan St., Ann Arbor MI 48109-1220 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, 3210 SI North, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA

      Address: Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15221 USA

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  • Al Mamunur Rashid,

    Corresponding author
    1. A Ph.D. student in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering, University of Minnesota. He is interested in applying Machine Learning and Data Mining techniques to novel applications and problems, particularly in Human Computer Interactions.
    • Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: 4-192 EE/CS Building, 200 Union St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: 249 Mervis Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, Economics Department, 238 Lorch Hall, 611 Tappan St., Ann Arbor MI 48109-1220 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, 3210 SI North, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA

      Address: Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15221 USA

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  • Paul Resnick,

    Corresponding author
    1. A Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. His research focuses on recommender and reputation systems and other forms of SocioTechnical Capital.
    • Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: 4-192 EE/CS Building, 200 Union St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: 249 Mervis Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, Economics Department, 238 Lorch Hall, 611 Tappan St., Ann Arbor MI 48109-1220 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, 3210 SI North, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA

      Address: Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15221 USA

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  • Robert Kraut

    Corresponding author
    1. Herbert A. Simon Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Kraut has broad interests in the design and social impact of computing and conducts research on everyday use of the Internet, technology and conversation, collaboration in small work groups, computing in organizations, and contributions to online communities. His most recent work examines factors influencing the success of online communities and ways to apply psychology theory to their design. More information is available at http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~kraut
    • Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: 4-192 EE/CS Building, 200 Union St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: 249 Mervis Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 USA

      Address: Tech and Frew Streets, Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, Economics Department, 238 Lorch Hall, 611 Tappan St., Ann Arbor MI 48109-1220 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Minnesota, 200 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

      Address: University of Michigan, 3210 SI North, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA

      Address: Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15221 USA

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  • CommunityLab*

Abstract

Under-contribution is a problem for many online communities. Social psychology theories of social loafing and goal-setting can lead to mid-level design goals to address this problem. We tested design principles derived from these theories in four field experiments involving members of an online movie recommender community. In each of the experiments participated were given different explanations for the value of their contributions. As predicted by theory, individuals contributed when they were reminded of their uniqueness and when they were given specific and challenging goals. However, other predictions were disconfirmed. For example, in one experiment, participants given group goals contributed more than those given individual goals. The article ends with suggestions and challenges for mining design implications from social science theories.

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