The research aims to identify the drivers of virality, and subsequently understand how these drivers impact on social action by consumers within a computer-mediated social network site. The research problem can be presented in the following general terms ‘How do firms create effective viral campaigns with their customers in the computer-mediated social network site context?’ In addressing this research problem, two research issues and ten hypotheses have been identified from a review of the literature. To address the hypotheses, resolve the research issues, and answer the research problem, the present study applied a single cross-sectional research method. The first research issue was related to gaining a better understanding of how the principal constructs associated with viral marketing were conceptualised, and subsequently how these constructs interact to influence social action within a computer-mediated social network site context. This issue was investigated using a survey of 1,230 Facebook users located in Indonesia. Hypotheses 1 to 6 examine how the computer-mediated social network site context affects the conceptualisation of social capital, network externalities, anticipated social action, and actual social action. The results confirmed some modest yet important differences in the way that these constructs were conceptualised. Hypothesis 7 examined how these constructs interacted. The results showed support for a model in which social capital partially mediated the effect of network externalities on anticipated social action in the computer-mediated social network site context. This suggests that the commonly cited concerns about “who you know” had a partial mediating effect on the way network externalities were evaluated in the present study. The second research issue was concerned with the effect of anticipated social obligation on the relationships among these constructs. Hypotheses 8 to 10 proposed that anticipated social obligation moderated the perceptions of social capital, network externalities, anticipated social action, and actual social action. It was also proposed that it affected the interactions of these constructs. The findings revealed that anticipated social obligation had no significant moderating effect on the interactions among the four constructs. However, anticipated social obligation did partially mediate the influence of both network externalities and social capital on anticipated social action in the computer-mediated social network site context. The investigation of these hypotheses suggests that firms need to give careful consideration to the reciprocity of relationships between friends in developing their viral marketing strategies. The major finding of this study was to confirm that viral marketing does impact on social action within computer-mediated social network sites. That is, social capital and network externalities drive anticipated and actual social action among friends within the same computer-mediated social network site, and that social obligation has a partial mediating influence on these relationships. The post-hoc analysis demonstrated that demographics of customers have some influence on these relationships. In particular, age, gender, and the number of friends were all observed to exhibit some influence.
|Date of Award||2017|
|Supervisor||Byron Keating (Supervisor) & Birgit Muskat (Supervisor)|