Run for the Group: The Impacts of Offline Teambuilding, Social Comparison and Competitive Climate on Group Physical Activity - Evidence from Mobile Fitness Apps

Zhang, Yuan
Zhang, Jie
Liu, Zilong
Song, Xiaolong
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To encourage users to exercise more and to improve the retention, mobile fitness app developers build apps with more social interaction features on the collective level, such as allowing users to join groups to work out and holding offline group meetup events. However, literature has not provided a clear theory on the impacts of the within-group social comparison and between-group competitive climate on the participation in group exercises. Motivated by this gap, we build a conceptual framework to explain the empirical effects based on the Social Comparison theory. Based on the Teamwork theory, we also propose that offline group team building activities moderate the above relationships. We collect usage data from a mobile fitness app and conduct a series of comprehensive empirical analyses to test and validate the main and moderating effects. Our results show that both the within-group social comparison and the between- group competitive climate can improve group exercise participation. Additionally, the amount of offline activities moderates the main effects in opposite directions. Our findings help fitness app developers to better understand the impacts of offline team building activities on the participation of the online virtual groups, and further, we provide implications regarding how to make online community policies and design gamification incentive mechanism to stimulate and promote offline team building activities.
Strategy, Information, Technology, Economics and Society (SITES), competitive climate, fitness app, offline teambuilding, social comparison theory, teamwork theory
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