Understanding Online Community Participation: A Technology Acceptance Perspective

Hua Wang, Jae Eun Chung, Namkee Park, Margaret L. McLaughlin, Janet Fulk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Online community participation has not been well understood from the perspective of technology adoption and use. Using a national sample of 537 online community participants in the United States and structural equation modeling, this study demonstrates that the technology acceptance model (TAM) can provide a useful foundation for theoretical explanation. By empirically testing the original TAM and comparing it with an alternative model, our results confirmed that perceived usefulness (PU) outweighs perceived ease of use (PEOU) in explaining actual use. Our final model further suggested a feedback loop between PU and PEOU, which significantly improved the model fit at both global and local levels. In addition, three exogenous variables (i.e., Internet self-efficacy, community environment, and intrinsic motivation) were proposed and validated. These findings have clear implications for the structure of the TAM as well as for its usefulness for the newly burgeoning practice of online community participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)781-801
Number of pages21
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Our research has been supported by the USC Annenberg Program on Online Communities Research Initiative.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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