Given the growing trend of electronic networks of practice and the growing propensity of individuals to rely on the Internet for problem solving, we examine whether programmers in a hypothetical situation would be likely to disclose confidential information through an online forum in attempt to solve a programming problem. We hypothesize and find in a survey of 187 programmers that online forum commitment and trust lead to greater online forum participation, which in turn predicts a higher likelihood of confidential information disclosure. We also find that programmers with greater awareness of security policies exhibit a lower likelihood of deciding to risk disclosing confidential information. The study contributes to extant literature by raising and exploring the potentially negative, dark side of knowledge sharing through electronic networks of practice.

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