“What’s coming next?” Epistemic curiosity and lurking behavior in online communities
Prior research has repeatedly found that lurkers, the passive members of online communities, dominate such communities in terms of membership. Yet lurking in online communities reflects a phenomenon largely neglected by contemporary information systems theory and research. This study starts by reviewing existing literature on lurking behavior in online communities and identifies an unexplored opportunity related to the nature and origins of lurkers’ behavior, the individual propensity to de-lurk, and the dynamic interplay between lurking and de-lurking behavior. A theoretical process-based framework linking epistemic curiosity to lurking and de-lurking behavior in online communities is presented. This framework links prior academic work on epistemic curiosity as personality trait and emotional–motivational state to lurkers’ contribution behavior in online communities. The article concludes by proposing that the psychology of curiosity in general holds great promise for research on online communities in information systems. âº We relate the literature on curiosity with online communities and lurking behavior. âº Our process-based theoretical framework explores the nature of lurking behavior. âº The article sheds light on the dynamic interplay between lurking and de-lurking. âº We contend that literature on curiosity in general holds promise for IS research.