The hidden moderator – Exploring the roles of tuo’er in intra-firm R&D online communities

Jason Li-Ying, Zhinan Zhang, Qing Long

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    “Tuo’er” in a market place are those who are hired by a seller and attempt to push the sales by exaggerating the advantages of a product in a direct and persistent approach. More recently, it is to our observation that some large firms start deploying tuo’er on their intranet to facilitate knowledge sharing and innovation within intra-firm online R&D communities. Just like those in a market place, tuo’er in online knowledge shari ng communities also have a mandate to mislead other regular community members by creating a bandwagon effect. However, their intention to facilitate online knowledge sharing an d innovation within a firm might serve a good purpose and their practice stands in a gray area of management ethics. This study explores the special roles of tuo’er as a hidden moderator between a company and its employees, investigates under which conditions they work, and the implications for the effective use of online knowledge sharing communiti es by firms. An in-depth case study with multiple data sources is conducted in China in a longitudinal fashion.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2016
    Number of pages25
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    Event14th Open and User Innovation Conference - Harvard Business School, Boston, United States
    Duration: 1 Aug 20163 Aug 2016
    Conference number: 14


    Conference14th Open and User Innovation Conference
    LocationHarvard Business School
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    Internet address


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