The present study uncovers the motivations driving certain Internet users to contribute to
commons-based peer production. The study combines the literature of volunteerism, uses
and gratifications, and social identity theory as the theoretical framework. Findings from
the preliminary in-depth interviews were combined with that of prior literatures to
develop a questionnaire, which was designed to uncover the individual and social
motivations driving commons-based peer production. The questionnaire was
administered to a random sample of top Wikipedia editors in the form of an online
survey. The results revealed an eight-factor structure of motivation composed by both
self- and other-focused, individual and social motivations such as “career benefits,”
“social desirability,” “concern for others’ well-being,” “cognitive group membership,”
“avoidance of negative self-affect,” “need to be entertained,” “seeking of creative
stimulation,” and “providing information.” Additional analysis revealed that “providing
information,” “seeking of creative stimulation” and “concern for others’ well-being” were the three strongest motivations while “seeking of creative stimulation,” “need to be
entertained,” and “providing information” were the three significantly correlated
motivations with one’s satisfaction gained from editing Wikipedia.
University of Minnesota M.A. thesis. November 2011. Major: Mass Communication. Advisor: Jisu Huh, Ph.D. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 106, appendix A.
Individual and social motivations to contribute to commons-based peer production..
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