Discretionary Data Bases: A Theory and Some Experimental Findings

Brian K. Thorn, Terence Connolly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Organizational members routinely have access to information that may benefit other employees and that may be shared through new information technologies. This discretionary information can be viewed as having the properties of a public good, enabling the development of a number of powerful propositions from a few simple assumptions. Generally, discretionary information will be undersupplied. A conceptual framework is developed to propose that reduced contribution rates occur in the following situations: a) greater contribution costs, b) larger groups of participants, c) lower values of information to participants, and d) greater asymmetries in information value and benefits across participants. A series of experiments are reported that provide preliminary support for these expectations. The paper concludes with suggestions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)512-528
Number of pages17
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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