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Exploring online community participation

Shapiro, M., Clark, M. and Hair, N., (2012) Exploring online community participation. Report. Henley Centre for Customer Management

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Firm-hosted online brand communities, in which consumers interact regarding brand-centric topics, represent a fascinating context to study the motives of participation within the community. Theories of social capital and collective action are extended to begin understanding why individuals contribute, as they receive no immediate benefit, and “lurkers” have the same access to that contributed knowledge as everyone else. Building on the concept of means-end chain, that is we seek out certain attributes as a means to achieve a desired end state, the linkage between online brand community attributes, individual need, and personal values is ethnographically examined. By way of in-depth laddering interviews, why individuals participate will be answered through understanding how that participation fulfils individual need and enhances personal value. The main study comprises two approaches – participant observation in the community, and individual in-depth interviews with 32 community members. Over 2222 data points and 750 ladders were discovered and analysed using the laddering technique. Seven themes emerged as to why individuals actively participate in an online brand community – belonging, recognition, helping others, knowledge, professional advancement, personal development, and entertainment.

Item Type:Report (Report)
Divisions:Henley Business School > Marketing and Reputation
ID Code:82298
Publisher:Henley Centre for Customer Management


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