Virtual communities of practice are gaining attention among scholars and practitioners as managers and high-level executives look for ways to adapt to an ever-increasing rate of environmental change. These communities have been recognized as a tool for generating new ideas by accessing geographically distributed expertise. As most expert knowledge is tacit and tacit knowledge exchange is what leads to creativity, an understanding of antecedents to tacit knowledge exchange is needed. This manuscript responds by examining the role of trust, a well-known antecedent of creativity, within the context of virtual communities of practice. An interdisciplinary approach led to the development of a multi-level, multi-dimensional model of trust. The authors propose that different dimensions of trust serve as both an antecedent and outcome of creativity in virtual communities of practice, by taking on various forms and roles in the creative process based on tenure of its members.



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