The Motivation to Participate in Communities

Back in mid June I blogged on Miguel Cornejo Castro’s paper on lurkers and parasites , and I critiqued his treatment of motivation to participate in communities as “one dimensional”. Well Miguel was kind enough to take me seriously, and did me the additional honour of asking me to comment on his response, which he’s now published, titled Layers and Levers of Motivation (warning, it’s 7MB!). This is a much more sophisticated account, although motivation is a fiendishly complex area. I particularly like the way Miguel shows motivators as an evolving system, meshing with Wenger’s idea of trajectories of participation.

2 Comments so far

Awie Foong

Interesting paper, and interesting framework of CoP motivation.

In page 4 of the paper, the author quotes: “A person’s values are a crucial part of that person’s identity. They are what the person believes is right (and wrong) and what the person strives for or believes to be right to strive for): the person’s stand to the world. That is how we make sense to ourselves” (Frankl, 1945, 1969).

I very much agree with this statement. One important question that follow is: “What are these so-called ‘values’ to different people at different stages of their lives?”

I’m not statisfied with the commonly held unitary assumptions that do not consider the issue of individual differences, e.g. self-determination is a human nature (Deci & Ryan)-- does everyone value self-determination equally? Or belongingness: does everyone value belongingness equally? Or achievement? Or challenge?

Or could it be that the ‘values’ that we hold are indeed multifaceted, include all the above and more, and differ from one individual to another; not so much in ‘what’ people values, but ‘how much’ we value each of them.

Personally I think that if the concept of values and goals can be further define and refine, it would provide more depth to the framework. Otherwise, the framework may look plausible, but ‘so what’?


Posted on July 31, 2006 at 01:38 PM | Comment permalink


I agree, Awie, this framework is only the start of a journey. Values are at least as complex as motivation, but what I like here is that the concept of identity (and identities) provides some leverage to explore how they work in some depth. An identity is a “carrier” or an “expressor” of values (among other things), and it also links individuals to social groups such as communities.

Thanks for your comment Awie.

Posted on July 31, 2006 at 02:02 PM | Comment permalink

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