John P. Tate

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Kevin L. Elder, PhD


Over the past five to seven years, the United States Air Force has begun to employ online Communities of Practice (CoP) as a means to collaborate virtually. During this time, there have been several studies of these online communities to better understand their use, as well as their lack of use. The primary goal of this research is to apply the theories of Davis' (1989) technology acceptance model to identify the factors that affect the acceptance and use of CoPs. These findings are then used to provide suggestions on how to improve the acceptance and use of CoPs for CoP administrators and, ultimately, the Air Force Knowledge Now (AFKN), the managerial owners of all CoPs. This research used a mixed method strategy to collect data. Data were gathered from a previous research study on AFKN CoPs, a pre-interview survey, and an interview that included both open- and close-ended questions. This method allowed the researcher to converge on the broad results in order to focus on detailed views from the participants. The findings from this research suggest differences in users' perceptions based on functional makeup, formality, access, length of use, and user's grade/position. In addition, the factors of social influence, facilitating conditions, and user acceptance enablers strongly influenced the usage behavior of CoP users. Finally, the interview process exposed numerous factors that encouraged and discouraged use of the CoPs.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number