Who's Contributing? Do Personality Traits Influence the Level and Type of Participation in Online Community?
Purpose: The purpose of this research paper is to find out if personality traits have any influence on the level and type of participation in online communities. Aim: The aim of this paper is to find out if the small number of active participants in online communities are dominated by a particular personality trait, and if personality traits influence how much and what type of participation an individual undertakes in online communities. Method: An online survey was used to gather both participation types and levels and to measure personality, using the Big Five Inventory, 44 item tool. Findings: Personality does have an influence on what type of participation individuals undertake in online communities. Individuals displaying high in extraversion traits are less likely to be active in online communities but when they do they identify with a sense of friendship. Individuals displaying high in neurotic traits are less likely to be active in online communities but when they do they are motivated by a sense of belonging. Individuals high in conscientiousness traits are more likely to be motivated to participate by sharing useful information. Individuals high in a combination of conscientiousness and agreeable traits were motivated to participate to share useful information. There was no evidence to suggest that those that do participate are dominated by a particular personality type. What was evident was that individuals high in certain personality traits are less likely to participate in certain content activity. This means that communities that engage in specific content type or activity may be skewed to particular personality types. More in- depth research would be required on one type of community in order to investigate this further.