Determinants of engagement in virtual social networks in Singapore

  • Yew Tung Boey

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The use of virtual social networks (VSNs) has been prevalent among consumers worldwide. Numerous studies have investigated various aspects of VSNs. However, these studies have mainly focused on students and young adults as they were early adopters of these innovative networks. A search of the literature revealed there has been a paucity of research on adult consumers’ use of VSNs. This research study addressed this gap in the literature by examining the determinants of engagement in VSNs among adult consumers in Singapore. The objectives of this study are to empirically investigate the determinants of engagement in VSNs and to offer theoretical insights into consumers’ preference and usage of VSNs. This study tapped upon several theories developed in the discipline of technology and innovation adoption. These were Roger’s Diffusion of Innovation, Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA),Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB),Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), Conceptual Framework of Individual Innovation Adoption by Frambach and Schillewaert (2002),Enhanced Model of Innovation Adoption by Talukder (2011),Extended Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT2) and the Information Systems (IS) Success Model. The proposed research model, named the Media Usage Model (MUM),is a framework rooted in innovation diffusion and IS theories. The MUM distilled the essence of these established models and thus provides an updated, lucid explanation of engagement in VSNs. A cross-sectional, online social survey was conducted to collect quantitative data to examine the validity of the proposed research model. Multivariate data analysis was carried out on a data set comprising 806 usable responses by utilizing SPSS, and for structural equation modeling AMOS and SmartPLS. The results indicate that consumer attitude towards VSNs is significantly and positively influenced by: three individual factors – hedonic motivation, incentives and experience; two system characteristics – system quality and information quality; and one social factor – social bonding. Consumer demographics were found to influence people’s attitudes towards VSNs. In addition, consumer experience and attitude towards VSNs significantly and positively influence their usage of VSNs. The empirical data supported the proposed research model, explaining 80% of variance in attitude towards VSNs and 45% of variance in usage of VSNs. Therefore, the MUM achieves a definite contribution to theoretical knowledge of consumer engagement in VSNs by deepening and broadening our appreciation of the intricacies related to use of VSNs in Singapore. This study’s findings have implications for customer service management, services marketing and consumer behavior. These findings also have strategic implications for maximizing efficient utilization and effective management of VSNs by businesses and operators. The contributions of this research are: firstly, shifting the boundaries of technology or innovation adoption theories from research on employees to consumers as well as the boundaries of Internet usage or adoption research from students to adults, which is also known as empirical generalization; secondly, highlighting the issues associated with lack of significance of social factors in adoption research; and thirdly, augmenting information systems research by integrating important antecedents for success in information systems.
    Date of Award2016
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMajharul Talukder (Supervisor) & Ali Quazi (Supervisor)

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