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How does participation and browsing affect continuance intention in virtual communities? An integration of curiosity theory and subjective well-being

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Based on theories about curiosity and subjective well-being (SWB), this study proposes a research model for how participation and browsing initiate different routes to satisfying members’ diverse needs, thus increasing their SWB and their continuance intention in knowledge-based virtual communities (VCs). Two curiosity constructs, informational deprivation epistemic curiosity (D-EC) and interest-type epistemic curiosity (I-EC), moderate the wanting route and liking route, respectively. The research model is tested with data from 476 members of one knowledge-based VC using a web survey. Results show that member participation stimulates the wanting route to satisfaction by activating the need for reflective learning and uncertainty reduction, whereas browsing stimulates the liking route to member satisfaction by eliciting enjoyment. Both routes thus increase member SWB and, ultimately, continuance intention. Along the wanting route, D-EC reinforces relationships related to reflective learning but attenuates those related to uncertainty. I-EC alleviates the relationships along the liking route. Comparisons of the relative importance of hypothesised relationships between participants and lurkers indicate that participants feel more satisfied with knowledge sharing, enjoy greater SWB, and maintain higher continuance intention than lurkers. These results can therefore help managers of VCs leverage learning- or fun-oriented mechanisms, depending on member curiosity type.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalBehaviour & Information Technology
Early online date31 Oct 2019
Publication statusEarly online - 31 Oct 2019


  • BHATTI_2019_cright_BIT_How does participation and browsing affect continuance intention in virtual communities

    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Behaviour & Information Technology, (2019), available online:

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 832 KB, PDF document

    Due to publisher’s copyright restrictions, this document is not freely available to download from this website until: 31/10/20

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