The Role of Trust, Satisfaction, and Communication in the Development of Participation in Virtual Communities

The Role of Trust, Satisfaction, and Communication in the Development of Participation in Virtual Communities

Luis V. Casaló (University of Zaragoza, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-070-7.ch002
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Abstract

The rapid growth of virtual communities has created a new interest in researchers. Indeed, understanding these communities is especially relevant because it may allow for the obtaining of valuable information (e.g. needs of particular groups of people). In this respect, this work tries to explore which factors motivate individuals to take part of a virtual community since participation is one of the most important variables for the development and sustainability of virtual communities. More specifically, we analyze the effects of trust in a community, satisfaction with previous interactions and the communication level of the members’ intentions to participate in a given virtual community. The data (obtained through an online surveys made to members of several virtual communities) show that trust in a virtual community had a positive and significant effect on members’ participation in a virtual community. In addition, we found that satisfaction with previous interactions and the level of communication in a community significantly increased the level of trust in that virtual community.
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Introduction

The Internet has come out as a new medium for social activities (Kim et al., 2004) that favours the connection among individuals and organizations (Pitta et al., 2005). Indeed, consumers are increasingly turning to computer-mediated communication in order to get information on which to base their decisions (Kozinets, 2002). They are using several online formats to share ideas and contact other consumers who are seen as more objective information sources (Kozinets, 2002). These online interactions have motivated the creation of social groups in the Internet that have been traditionally called virtual communities (Rheingold, 1993).

The importance of virtual communities for marketers is continuously increasing since relationships between consumers may influence brand choice (Wind, 1976) or the election of a specific service (Pitta et al., 2005). In addition, these online communities provide a great opportunity to understand the members likes, dislikes, needs, behaviours or concerns (Ridings et al., 2002; Pitta et al., 2005). However, there is still a lack of studies that analyze empirically which are the main precursors of consumer’s participation in these virtual communities. In fact, although the concept of virtual community is almost as old as the concept of Internet (Flavián and Guinalíu, 2005), little is known about what motivations induce people to participate in virtual communities (Ridings et al., 2002). Therefore, this study is designed to identify some of the factors that influence the members’ intentions to participate in a virtual community. More specifically, following the trust-commitment theory (Morgan and Hunt, 1994), we firstly consider that to participate actively in a virtual community, an individual will need to trust first in that virtual community and in its members. Secondly, we also consider that a general satisfaction in the previous interactions with the virtual community and a higher communication quality in the community may increase the level of trust placed in a virtual community.

Taking into account the previous considerations, this work is structured as follows. Firstly, we carry out an in-depth review of the relevant literature concerning the concept of virtual community and the variables included in the study. Secondly, we formalize the hypothesis. Then, we explain the process of data collection and the methodology employed. Lastly, the main conclusions of the work are discussed and the future research is presented.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Knowledge Management and Virtual Organizations
Chapter 1
Fernando Garrigos
This chapter presents the interrelationships between professional virtual communities and social networks, and analyzes how, and in what ways, these... Sample PDF
Interrelationships Between Professional Virtual Communities and Social Networks, and the Importance of Virtual Communities in Creating and Sharing Knowledge
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Chapter 2
Luis V. Casaló
The rapid growth of virtual communities has created a new interest in researchers. Indeed, understanding these communities is especially relevant... Sample PDF
The Role of Trust, Satisfaction, and Communication in the Development of Participation in Virtual Communities
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Chapter 3
Cesar Camison
Organisations are finding it more difficult to keep abreast with the pace of change. The continuous rise of business opportunities and the increase... Sample PDF
Can Virtual Networks Encourage Knowledge Absorptive Capacity?
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Chapter 4
Montserrat Boronat Navarro
In this study we adopt an inter-organizational view to examine virtual organizations. Thus, we understand this phenomenon as a strategic agreement... Sample PDF
Knowledge Integration Through Inter-Organizational Virtual Organizations
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Chapter 5
Mark E. Nissen
In today’s increasingly networked world of organizational practice, information and computer technologies are enabling people and organizations to... Sample PDF
Visualizing Knowledge Networks and Flows to Enhance Organizational Metacognition in Virtual Organizations
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Chapter 6
Eduardo Bueno Campos
The aim of this chapter is to deepen the concept of ‘Communities of Practice’ (CoPs) from the understanding of a reference framework for knowledge... Sample PDF
Model on Knowledge-Governance: Collaboration Focus and Communities of Practice
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Chapter 7
Josep Capó-Vicedo
This chapter highlights the necessity of establishing relationships with other companies and external agents in order to empower the creation and... Sample PDF
Knowledge Management in SMEs Clusters
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Chapter 8
Raquel Sanchis
This chapter presents a general overview of the relationships between information and communications technologies (ITCs) and the process of... Sample PDF
Tools for Supporting Knowledge Management: Knowledge Internalization Through E-Learning
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Chapter 9
Cesar Camison, Carlos Devece, Daniel Palacios, Carles Camisón-Haba
In this chapter we describe a practical tool useful to managing knowledge in the firm. It has already been introduced and tested in several firms... Sample PDF
The Value of Virtual Networks for Knowledge Management: A Tool for Practical Development
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Chapter 10
M. Eugenia Fabra, Cesar Camison
Companies are increasingly conscious of the fact that the achieving of their objectives, together with the improvement of their competitive... Sample PDF
Human Capital and E-Learning: Developing Knowledge Through Virtual Networks
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Chapter 11
Júlio Da Costa Mendes
This chapter looks to analyse new paradigms in the relationship between public and private organisations towards tourism destinations. It proposes... Sample PDF
The Development of Knowledge and Information Networks in Tourism Destinations
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Chapter 12
E. Claver-Cortés
Government agencies are being pressed to become more efficient. For this reason, e-government strategies result from the expectations from society... Sample PDF
E-Government Challenges: Barriers and Facilitators in Spanish City Councils
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Chapter 13
Hindupur Ramakrishna
The chapter presents a conceptual framework that identifies technological and organizational factors that impact the success of business analytics... Sample PDF
Business Analytics Success: A Conceptual Framework and an Application to Virtual Organizing
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Chapter 14
Andrew Targowski
This chapter provides theoretical analysis and synthesis of how computer applications are applied in problem-solving and decision-making in practice... Sample PDF
The Evolution from Data to Wisdom in Decision-Making at the Level of Real and Virtual Networks
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Chapter 15
Editor Conclusions  (pages 278-279)
Cesar Camison
The study of virtual organizations encompasses several research fields, and the variables involved in each of them are sometimes closely related.... Sample PDF
Editor Conclusions
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Chapter 16
Andrew P. Sage, Cynthia T. Small
This chapter describes a complex adaptive systems (CAS)-based enterprise knowledge-sharing (KnS) model. The CAS-based enterprise KnS model consists... Sample PDF
A Complex Adaptive Systems-Based Enterprise Knowledge Sharing Model
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Chapter 17
James G. Williams, Kai A. Olsen
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 opened competition in the telecommunications market in the U.S. and forced the incumbent telecommunications... Sample PDF
Developing a Telecommunication Operation Support Systems (OSS): The Impact of a Change in Network Technology
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Chapter 18
Tor Guimaraes
Emerging agent-based systems offer new means of effectively addressing complex decision processes and enabling solutions to business requirements... Sample PDF
Enabling the Virtual Organization with Agent Technology
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Chapter 19
Jens Gammelgaard
In geographically dispersed organizations, like multinational corporations (MNCs), contextual gaps exist between senders and receivers of knowledge.... Sample PDF
Virtual Communities of Practice: A Mechanism for Efficient Knowledge Retrieval in MNCs
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About the Contributors