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Emotional Support, Perceived Corporate Ownership and Skepticism toward Out-groups in Virtual Communities

Johnson, Devon, Lowe, Ben (2015) Emotional Support, Perceived Corporate Ownership and Skepticism toward Out-groups in Virtual Communities. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 29 (1). pp. 1-10. ISSN 1094-9968. E-ISSN 1520-6653. (doi:10.1016/j.intmar.2014.07.002) (KAR id:46637)


Consumers often look to virtual communities for knowledge and support in overcoming the challenges they face. This article examines the role of emotional support in virtual communities that help participants to cope with personal challenges such as healthcare, financial or legal matters. It examines the potential for peer to peer emotional support experienced in virtual communities to generate skepticism toward related out-groups such as doctors and drug companies. It also examines the degree to which corporate ownership of the virtual community reduces the degree to which emotional support generates skepticism toward out-groups. Guided by predictions of social identity theory, we use data from 270 regular participants in healthcare virtual communities to show that emotional support does generate skepticism toward out-groups. However, we find that this effect is reversed when the virtual community is reported by participants to be corporate owned. We offer guidance to public policy makers on the potential negative consequences of skepticism and we provide advice to managers on how to counter skepticism and improve community stickiness.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.intmar.2014.07.002
Uncontrolled keywords: participation, virtual community, emotional support, skepticism, overall satisfaction
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5415 Marketing
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Marketing, Entrepreneurship and International Business
Depositing User: Benjamin Lowe
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2015 20:35 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2021 15:17 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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