Dowel action is one of the component actions for shear force transfer in cracked reinforced concrete. In finite element analysis of concrete structures, the use of discrete representation of reinforcing bars is considered advantageous over the smeared representation due to the relative ease of modelling the bond-slip behaviour. However, there is very limited research on how to simulate the dowel action of discrete reinforcing bars. Herein, a numerical model for dowel action of discrete reinforcing bars crossing cracks in concrete is developed. The model features the derivation of dowel stiffness matrix based on beam-on-elasticfoundation theory and the direct assemblage of dowel stiffness into the concrete element stiffness matrices. The dowel action model is incorporated in a nonlinear finite element programme with secant stiffness formulation. Deep beams tested in the literature are analysed and it is found that the incorporation of dowel action model improves the accuracy of analysis.