An exploration of member involvement with online brand communities (OBCs)

Loonam, Mary (2018). An exploration of member involvement with online brand communities (OBCs). University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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Despite growth in research investigating online consumer behaviour there appears to be a lack of study focusing specifically on how consumers are involved within online settings. Involvement is defined as the perceived relevance of a stimulus object such as a product to the individual consumer (Zaichkowsky, 1984). The study of consumer involvement is valuable as it is believed to be important mediator of consumer behaviour (e.g. Slater and Armstrong, 2010; Knox, Walker and Marshall, 1994). This study explores member involvement with Online Brand Communities (OBCs) focusing specifically on two questions: (1) What is involving about OBCs? (2) How are members involved with OBCs? The study employs a netnographic methodology consisting of participant observation of two OBCs over a nine month period. Based on the findings from the observation data two conceptual models relating to the characteristics and development of member involvement with the OBC are presented. The ‘Typology of Online Community Involvement’ model identifies four distinct types of member involvement with the OBC: (1) utilitarian involvement, (2) social involvement, (3) ego-related involvement, and (4) affective involvement. The ‘Journey of Member Involvement with the OBC’ model charts the different pathways that members who are involved with the OBC may undertake during their membership. The findings provide deeper insights into online consumer behaviour such as triggers that prompt members’ initial and continued involvement with OBCs. Recommendations for management focus on developing tools and strategies that help cultivate and sustain member involvement with the OBC.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Birmingham Business School, Department of Marketing
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races


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