Why are physicians willing to contribute knowledge? Evidence from online health communities

Xiaoqian Zhuo, Wei Tsong Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The sustainable development of an online health community (OHC) is inseparable from the contribution of physicians. Nevertheless, little research has systemically examined physicians' knowledge contribution behavior (KCB) in the OHC context. Drawing on social cognitive theory, this study proposes an empirical model for exploring the influence of environmental factors (material incentives and non-material incentives) and cognitive factors (psychological capital) on physicians' KCB. We collected data from 270 physicians providing services in OHCs to examine the proposed theoretical relationships and model. The findings suggest that physicians' KCB is influenced by different incentive types. Specifically, extrinsic rewards and thanks letters have a positive effect on physicians' KCB, while virtual gifts negatively affect physicians' KCB. However, intrinsic rewards have no motivating effect on KCB. In addition, psychological capital plays an important role in the relationship between incentives and KCB. Accordingly, these results underscore the need to distinguish the impact of different incentives on physicians' KCB. This study therefore broadens the research scope of social cognitive theory and enriches the extant results concerning KCB in OHCs. Our findings also have effective implications for OHC practitioners.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108095
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Mar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • General Psychology


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