Date of Award

12-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management

Major Professor

Heejin Lim

Committee Members

Ann Fairhurst, Wanda Costen, Michael Palenchar

Abstract

This study was designed to explore the phenomenon of social commerce marketing in relation to consumer-brand relationship development. The specific research objective were as follows: (a) to identify multiple factors motivating consumers to have sense of community in the context of brand social networking sites; (b) to investigate the effects of general connection between consumers and the brand on developing a sense of online brand community in social networking site-based brand communities; (c) to examine potential outcomes of having a sense of online brand community in brand social networking sites such as brand commitment, advocacy, and loyalty; (d) to investigate whether levels of participation in brand social networking site strengthens the relationship between a sense of online brand community and relational outcomes such as brand commitment. Theoretical foundations from sense of community (i.e., sense of psychological community), social identity theory, and social capital theory were used to support and test a proposed model.

This research employed an online self-administered survey method. A total of 617 complete responses were collected from consumer panels across United States. The analyses of responses were based on a two-step approach: confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling. Through confirmatory factor analyses with the measurement model development, each construct was examined carefully. The results from the structural model suggested that perceived social support and consumer-brand relationship were important drivers of relationship mediators (i.e., sense of online brand community), which led to relational outcomes (i.e., brand commitment, brand preference, brand advocacy, and behavioral loyalty). However, need for affiliation did not have impact on developing a sense of online brand community. In addition, the levels of engagement of in brand social networking sites strengthened the relationship between sense of online brand community and brand commitment. From the results, academic and managerial implications were suggested, and suggestions for future research were presented.

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