Understanding online community user participation: a social influence perspective

Tao Zhou (School of Management, Hangzhou Dianzi University, Hangzhou, China)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Publication date: 28 January 2011



The purpose of this study is to examine the determinants of online community user participation from a social influence perspective.


Based on 450 valid responses collected from a survey questionnaire, structural equation modeling (SEM) technology was employed to examine the research model.


The results show that both social identity and group norm have significant effects on user participation. In addition, group norm affects social identity. It was not possible to find the effect of subjective norm on participation intention.

Research limitations/implications

This research is limited to a particular sample: students. Thus the results need to be generalized to other samples, such as working professionals.


Extant research has mainly focused on the effects of user motivations such as perceived usefulness, trust and commitment on online community user behavior, and seldom considered the effects of social processes including compliance, identification and internalization on user behavior. This research tries to fill the gap.



Zhou, T. (2011), "Understanding online community user participation: a social influence perspective", Internet Research, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 67-81. https://doi.org/10.1108/10662241111104884

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