Understanding the Determinants of Online Collective Action. The Case Study of Patients Communities.

Raphaelle Laubie* Raphaelle Laubie*, Dauphine University, Paris, France

Track: Research
Presentation Topic: Communities in health care
Presentation Type: Poster presentation
Submission Type: Single Presentation

Building: LKSC Conference Center Stanford
Room: Lower Lobby
Date: 2011-09-18 12:00 PM – 01:00 PM
Last modified: 2011-08-12

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Internet use has dramatically expanded over the past few years and virtual communities are blossoming on the World Wide Web. Virtual communities offer interesting perspectives and opportunities to both companies and participants, in terms of problem solving (e.g., InnoCentive), creativity emergence (e.g., Appstore), project funding (e.g., Kiva). Following this, this research examines user motivations to join social networks in patients’ communities. Researchers have already explored some of these aspects. However, they have failed to develop a clear model, integrating both individual and group variables such as group norms and social identity. Drawing on the concepts of intention and goal-directed behavior we explore these causal factors, focusing on the role of habits and emotions in users’ behaviors. In this research project, we use a qualitative methodology in compliance with our exploratory quest to understand the determinants of online collective action for patients. In order to get a sociological typology of our field of inquiry, we first proceeded to health 2.0 experts’ interviews. Considering the insights given on patients that would be engaged in these communities we proceeded to these specific patients’ category interviews. We used SDCI (semi-directive centered interview). We expect our study to analyze and understand the underlying determinants of online communities to generate action, which can disclose precious user-generated-content and lead to innovative discoveries as collaborative tools offered by new communication technologies greatly facilitate this approach. Our model, inspired from the literature and confronted to interviews material, is a revision of Perugini and Bagozzi’s model of goal-directed behavior (Perugini et Bagozzi, 2001), which was adapted to social networking websites in Bagozzi and Dholakia’s following studies (Bagozzi et Dholakia, 2002) (Dholakia et al., 2004). The interviews also highlighted the emergence of new factors such as belongingness needs (among patients) and exclusivity (dedicated platforms). In our expected field of inquiry, doctors, scientists, pharmaceutical companies or regulators used to let patients know what seemed relevant to their experts’ (accommodated) point of view. But nowadays, with the overflow of patients’ increased interactions made immediate and simple, things are dramatically changing, allowing patients to narrate in detail, to the whole world the life story of their pains, fears, illness experiences documented with photos and protagonists' true names. These aspects encourage a bottom to top approach in medicine and collaboration between patients and researchers, they may help to tackle aging populations health challenges and may be boosters for the codification of laws among countries and reforms as well.

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