The impact of team diversity on physician teams’ performance in online health communities


With the increasing popularity of the Internet, people progressively seek health advice through online health communities (OHCs). Physician in OHCs are often self-organized into teams to provide on-demand health services which can meet patients’ diverse needs and attract patients to buy their services. Although many prior studies have investigated OHC physician performance at the individual level, little research exists on team level performance. To fill that gap, this paper analyzes whether the team diversity of online physician teams influence team performance in OHCs in specific the context of China according to the signaling theory. Using data from one of the most popular OHCs in China, we employ fixed-effect models to evaluate the effect of team diversity of online medical teams on team performance from the perspective of signal transmission. The results indicate that the reputation diversity and experience diversity of physicians in OHC teams exert positive influences on team performance. Meanwhile, whether an OHC team has star physicians has different moderating effects on the relationship between two kinds of team diversity and team performance. Specifically, the existence of star physicians will increase the positive influences of experience diversity, but weaken the positive effect of reputation diversity on team performance. Our results support the need for considering the team diversity as a potential solution to improve the performance of online medical teams in Chinese OHCs.

Publication Title

Information Processing and Management