Impact of intra-group coopetitive incentives on the performance outcomes of knowledge sharing: evidence from a randomized experiment

Fuzhen Liu, Jiang Wu, Xiao Huang, Patrick S.W. Fong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Knowledge sharing, as a kind of social behavior that incorporates collective intelligence to achieve a certain goal, has become a remarkable developing trend in recent years. Under the context of traditional teaching, this study aims to explore the manner in which students become effective in sharing knowledge to help optimize course design and improve our existing education. Design/methodology/approach: Among 195 university students taking an elective, the effects of different incentives on group performance in completing tasks is explored on the basis of a randomized experiment. Findings: Results show that intra-group cooperation can be helpful to student performance, whereas intra-group competition neither improves nor worsens student performance. The former is mainly driven by reciprocity, especially for that stimulated by inter-group competition, whereas the latter is stimulated by egoism. Thus, proper reciprocity can promote student behavior to increase voluntary contribution. In addition, intra-group differences do not interfere with group performance, especially task-oriented groups. Originality/value: Certain suggestions are proposed to improve the curriculum design in large classrooms. Forming groups is the best way to strengthen student knowledge sharing. Within task-oriented groups, the incentives of inter-group competition can encourage students to deepen intra-group cooperation and thus effectively improve group performance under the conditions of external competition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-368
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Knowledge Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2020


  • Intra-group competition
  • Intra-group cooperation
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Randomised experiment
  • Student performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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