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Cultivating Trust and Harvesting Value in Virtual Communities

Author

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  • Constance Elise Porter

    () (Department of Marketing, Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana 46556)

  • Naveen Donthu

    () (Department of Marketing, Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia 30303)

Abstract

Although previous scholars have examined the value of virtual communities to customers, in this study we investigate the role of a firm's efforts in cultivating trust and harvesting value for themselves via the virtual communities that they sponsor. We hypothesize that the perceptions of a firm's efforts to provide quality content, to foster member embeddedness, and to encourage interaction foster favorable customer beliefs about and trust in a virtual community sponsor. Further, we hypothesize that trust motivates customers to behave relationally toward the sponsoring firm by sharing information with, coproducing new products with, and granting loyalty to, the sponsoring firm. Data from 663 customers are analyzed using structural equation modeling techniques. We find that efforts to provide quality content and foster member embeddedness have positive effects on customer beliefs about the sponsor. In fact, fostering member embeddedness has a stronger explanatory effect on customer beliefs than does providing quality content. However, despite the fact that previous studies show that customers value interaction in virtual communities, our findings suggest that firms must do more than encourage interaction among their community members if they hope to create value from their virtual communities.

Suggested Citation

  • Constance Elise Porter & Naveen Donthu, 2008. "Cultivating Trust and Harvesting Value in Virtual Communities," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(1), pages 113-128, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:54:y:2008:i:1:p:113-128
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1070.0765
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Engelken, Maximilian & Römer, Benedikt & Drescher, Marcus & Welpe, Isabell, 2016. "Transforming the energy system: Why municipalities strive for energy self-sufficiency," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 365-377.
    2. repec:hur:ijarbs:v:7:y:2017:i:11:p:167-174 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. de Villiers, Rouxelle, 2015. "Consumer brand enmeshment: Typography and complexity modeling of consumer brand engagement and brand loyalty enactments," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(9), pages 1953-1963.
    4. Gyrd-Jones, Richard I. & Kornum, Niels, 2013. "Managing the co-created brand: Value and cultural complementarity in online and offline multi‐stakeholder ecosystems," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(9), pages 1484-1493.
    5. Korschun, Daniel & Du, Shuili, 2013. "How virtual corporate social responsibility dialogs generate value: A framework and propositions," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(9), pages 1494-1504.
    6. Liao, Junyun & Huang, Minxue & Xiao, Bangming, 2017. "Promoting continual member participation in firm-hosted online brand communities: An organizational socialization approach," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 92-101.
    7. Reuber, A. Rebecca & Fischer, Eileen, 2011. "International entrepreneurship in internet-enabled markets," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 660-679.
    8. Brodie, Roderick J. & Ilic, Ana & Juric, Biljana & Hollebeek, Linda, 2013. "Consumer engagement in a virtual brand community: An exploratory analysis," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 105-114.
    9. repec:spr:infosf:v:16:y:2014:i:4:d:10.1007_s10796-012-9376-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Monic Sun & Feng Zhu, 2011. "Ad Revenue and Content Commercialization: Evidence from Blogs," Working Papers 11-32, NET Institute.
    11. Kurt Matzler & Daniel Stieger & Johann Füller, 2011. "Consumer Confusion in Internet-Based Mass Customization: Testing a Network of Antecedents and Consequences," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 231-247, June.
    12. Mozas-Moral, Adoración & Bernal-Jurado, Enrique & Medina-Viruel, Miguel Jesús & Fernández-Uclés, Domingo, 2016. "Factors for success in online social networks: An fsQCA approach," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 5261-5264.
    13. Zhang, Yixiang & Wang, Zhaohua & Zhou, Guanghui, 2013. "Determinants and implications of employee electricity saving habit: An empirical study in China," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 1529-1535.
    14. Gretry, Anaïs & Horváth, Csilla & Belei, Nina & van Riel, Allard C.R., 2017. "“Don't pretend to be my friend!” When an informal brand communication style backfires on social media," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 77-89.
    15. Jana Prodanova & Sonia San-Martín & Nadia Jiménez, 2017. "Enfoque teórico multidisciplinar para la provisión electrónica de servicios," DOCFRADIS Working Papers 1705, Catedra Fundación Ramón Areces de Distribución Comercial, revised Oct 2017.
    16. Melanie E. Zaglia & Martin K.J. Waiguny & Dagmar Abfalter & Julia Müller, 2015. "The influence of online social networks on performance of small and medium enterprises: an empirical investigation of the online business to business network XING," International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 7(1), pages 1-23.

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