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Title: Examining the positive electronic word-of-mouth behavior in online brand communities : a nonlinear approach
Other Titles: Tan tao wang shang pin pai she qu zhong de zheng mian wang luo kou bei xing wei : fei xian xing fang fa
探討網上品牌社區中的正面網絡口碑行為 : 非線性方法
Authors: Shi, Na ( 施娜)
Department: Department of Information Systems
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: City University of Hong Kong
Subjects: Word-of-mouth advertising.
Brand name products.
Online social networks.
Notes: CityU Call Number: HF5827.95 .S45 2011
ix, 126 leaves : ill. 30 cm.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--City University of Hong Kong, 2011.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 106-126)
Type: thesis
Abstract: With Web 2.0 technologies, a variety of online brand communities have been built and increasingly gained popularity worldwide. Online brand communities have served as platforms where consumers can share their personal experiences of branded products and services by engaging in electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) communication. The flourishing growth of online brand communities largely relies on the members' willingness to engage in eWOM communication. eWOM is also important for companies and marketers because of its great potential effect on consumer decision processes. Hence, establishing concrete reasons for the members' willingness to engage in eWOM communication is valuable for both online brand communities and brand companies. A few studies have been conducted to investigate the reasons behind the consumers' willingness to engage in eWOM. The hypothesis and testing of linear relationships between eWOM and its motives are the main objectives of the aforementioned studies. However, marketing researchers have argued that the relationships between word-of-mouth and its determinants (e.g., satisfaction) are more complex than previously surmised. By modeling the relationships in the eWOM model as linear, researchers take the risk of misestimating their models and missing out on important information. Despite its significance, the complex mechanisms in eWOM models have rarely been addressed in the IS literature. Only a few IS researchers have begun to explore the complex structure in user satisfaction models using the simple multivariate regression analysis method to examine nonlinear relationships. In fact, this simple analytical approach suffers from a number of undesired methodological problems. In the present study, an empirical research aimed at developing and testing a model for the nonlinear mechanisms of eWOM communication in online brand communities is conducted. In particular, this study (1) examines the effects of satisfaction, brand loyalty, and community commitment on positive eWOM intention, (2) conceptualizes complex mechanisms that involve nonlinear relationships in the research model, and (3) empirically tests the research model using a structural equation modeling (SEM) framework. The empirical research was conducted in the "Nokia Family" community, one of the most famous and active online brand communities for mobile phones in China. A total of 224 respondents participated in the online survey. The survey data were analyzed using a two-step single-indicator estimation method within the SEM approach. The nonlinear relationships proposed in the research model are all well supported. In particular, satisfaction exerts an increasing incremental effect on positive eWOM intention. Brand loyalty exerts a decreasing incremental effect on positive eWOM intention. In addition, satisfaction has an increasing incremental effect on brand loyalty. The linear relationship proposed in the model is also supported by the results. Community commitment is confirmed to have a linear and positive effect on brand loyalty. The findings of this study provide valuable insights for both researchers and practitioners, as the current work is one of the very first studies that explore a sophisticated approach in modeling the nonlinear functional forms of relationships between eWOM and its antecedents in the online brand communities of IS. The research model uses theories from other disciplines, providing support to the nonlinear relationships between eWOM and its antecedents. Furthermore, the present study extends the eWOM research to a new cultural and economic context, contributing substantially to the existing literature. It also provides marketers some new insights and guidelines in promoting eWOM marketing and maintaining customer relationships in online brand communities.
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