Users’ Psychological Perceptions of Information Sharing in the Context of Social Media: A Comprehensive Model

Xiaolin Lin, Saonee Sarker, and Mauricio Featherman
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 23, Number 4, 2019, pp. 453-491.


Internet users have been actively using social media to share various kinds of information online, offering opportunities for companies to gain valuable data from their customers. Although researchers have paid considerable attention to users’ information-sharing behavior, few studies have attempted to explore their psychological perceptions in decision-making about sharing information on social media. To gain further insights into users’ information-sharing behavior, our work aims to develop a comprehensive model illustrating individuals’ information-sharing behavior by integrating social-media-based technology features, social capital factors, and personal factors into the theory of reasoned action. Our research results strongly support the research model, which involves using an online survey to collect data. In particular, social media technology features (viz., interactivity and social presence), privacy, social capital (viz., commitment and social ties), and outcome expectations affect users’ information-sharing behavior on social media directly and indirectly. Our work contributes to the information-sharing literature by advancing it in a social media context and exploring individuals’ psychological perceptions. It also advances social capital theory by incorporating social media design features and providing further insights into how they can build individuals’ social capital online. Practically, our work delivers insights for companies (including social media providers) regarding how to encourage users’ information-sharing behaviors and demonstrate business values.

Key Words and Phrases: Co-creation, information sharing, social capital, social media, theory of reasoned action.