Given the inquiry-based nature of research projects, this study aims to investigate how graduate students in business administration majors are being involved in developing, achieving, and completing their master theses. Taking into account of two perspectives including the individual factors and collective environment supported by ICTs, the research purpose is to explore the perception of diverse innovation and to validate its critical determinants while using cloud technologies to collaborate as the research premise. In such an open learning environment (OLE), we adopt a sequential research design to 288 management students of two management colleges in central Taiwan. The research participants were at their three phases, i.e., concept, intermediate, and closure, for their thesis projects. Based on the PLS-SEM analysis, the extent of being in community of practice (CoP) was validated statistically as a partial mediator in the two paths: between self-efficacy (SE) and immerse in knowledge ecology (KE), and between self-determination (SD) and KE. Similarly, the perception of individual self-efficacy (SE) identified as another partial mediator between SD and CoP. The differential effect resultant of the time phase on determinants and consequences is also examined. Regardless of the generalized caveats that result from using a non-randomized, regional sample pool, the contribution of this study remains its practical and academic implications in management education and knowledge ecology enhanced in the OLE.
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