Many companies have recently become interested in using social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook as a new channel to communicate with their customers. For example, companies often offer "special deals" (e.g., coupons, discounts, free samples, etc.) to their customers who participate in promotions or events on social networking sites. Companies often make important announcements on their products or services on social networking sites. By doing so, customers are encouraged to continue to have relationships with companies on social networking sites and to recommend the companies' presence on social networking sites to other potential customers. Moreover, customers who keep close relationships with companies on social networking sites often provide the companies with valuable suggestions and feedback. For instance, Starbucks has more than 2 million followers on Twitter, and often receive suggestions and feedback for their product offerings and services from the followers on Twitter. Although companies realize potential benefits of using social networking sites as a channel to communicate with their customers, it appears that many companies have difficulty forging long-lasting relationships with customers on social networking sites. It is often reported that many customers who had followed companies on Twitter later stopped following them for various reasons. Therefore, it is an important issue to understand what motivates customers to continue to keep relationships with companies on social networking sites. Nonetheless, due attention has yet paid to this issue until recently. This study intends to contribute to our understanding on customers' intention to continue to follow companies on Twitter and to spread positive word-of-mouth about companies on Twitter. Specifically, we identify seven potential factors that customers perceive as important in evaluating their experience with companies on Twitter. The seven factors include similarity, receptivity, interactivity, ubiquitous connectivity, enjoyment, usefulness and transparency. We posit that the seven perception factors can affect the two types of satisfaction, emotional and cognitive, which can in turn influence on customers' intention to follow companies on Twitter and to spread positive word-of-mouth about companies on Twitter. Research hypotheses formulated in this study were tested with data collected from a questionnaire survey administered to customers who had been following companies on Twitter. The data was analyzed with the partial least square (PLS) approach to structural equation modeling. The results of data analysis based on 177 usable responses were generally supportive of our predictions for the effects of the seven factors identified and the two types of satisfaction. In particular, out results suggest that emotional satisfaction was strongly influenced by perceived similarity, perceived receptivity, perceived enjoyment, and perceived transparency. Cognitive satisfaction was significantly influenced by perceived similarity, perceived interactivity, perceived enjoyment, and perceived transparency. While cognitive satisfaction was found to have significant and positive effects on both continued following and word-of-mouth intentions, emotional satisfaction had a significant and positive effect only on word-of-mouth intention.
As sustainability has grown into a key global issue, more and more information technology (IT) products have adopted these concepts to attract consumers. However, these products potentially require consumers' physical or economic sacrifice at least for a short period of time. Therefore, the reason of consumers' adoption of sustainable IT products cannot be fully explained by the two traditional values: hedonic and utility values. However, expectancy-value theory, which has been used to explain the relationship between value and behavior, still takes hedonic value and utility value into consideration. The purpose of this study is to suggest an amended expectancy-value theory to better explain the adoption of IT products that consider sustainability. For this purpose, two social values-the normative value based on the Schwartz's model of moral norm and the eudemonic value of the Stoic philosophy-were added to the individual values to examine which value particularly influences the adoption of sustainable IT products. In addition, the moderating effect of perceived sustainability between four values and adoption of sustainable IT products was verified.
A challenge in fostering virtual communities is the continuous supply of knowledge, namely members' willingness to contribute knowledge to their communities. Previous research argues that giving away knowledge eventually causes the possessors of that knowledge to lose their unique value to others, benefiting all except the contributor. Furthermore, communication within virtual communities involves a large number of participants with different social backgrounds and perspectives. The establishment of mutual understanding to comprehend conversations and foster knowledge contribution in virtual communities is inevitably more difficult than face-to-face communication in a small group. In spite of these arguments, evidence suggests that individuals in virtual communities do engage in social behaviors such as knowledge contribution. It is important to understand why individuals provide their valuable knowledge to other community members without a guarantee of returns. In virtual communities, knowledge is inherently rooted in individual members' experiences and expertise. This personal nature of knowledge requires social interactions between virtual community members for knowledge transfer. This study employs the social capital theory in order to account for interpersonal relationship factors and identity theory for individual and group factors that may affect knowledge contribution. First, social capital is the relationship capital which is embedded within the relationships among the participants in a network and available for use when it is needed. Social capital is a productive resource, facilitating individuals' actions for attainment. Nahapiet and Ghoshal (1997) identify three dimensions of social capital and explain theoretically how these dimensions affect the exchange of knowledge. Thus, social capital would be relevant to knowledge contribution in virtual communities. Second, existing research has addressed the importance of identity in facilitating knowledge contribution in a virtual context. Identity in virtual communities has been described as playing a vital role in the establishment of personal reputations and in the recognition of others. For instance, reputation systems that rate participants in terms of the quality of their contributions provide a readily available inventory of experts to knowledge seekers. Despite the growing interest in identities, however, there is little empirical research about how identities in the communities influence knowledge contribution. Therefore, the goal of this study is to better understand knowledge contribution by examining the roles of social capital and identity in virtual communities. Based on a theoretical framework of social capital and identity theory, we develop and test a theoretical model and evaluate our hypotheses. Specifically, we propose three variables such as cohesiveness, reciprocity, and commitment, referring to the social capital theory, as antecedents of knowledge contribution in virtual communities. We further posit that members with a strong identity (self-presentation and group identification) contribute more knowledge to virtual communities. We conducted a field study in order to validate our research model. We collected data from 192 members of virtual communities and used the PLS method to analyse the data. The tests of the measurement model confirm that our data set has appropriate discriminant and convergent validity. The results of testing the structural model show that cohesion, reciprocity, and self-presentation significantly influence knowledge contribution, while commitment and group identification do not significantly influence knowledge contribution. Our findings on cohesion and reciprocity are consistent with the previous literature. Contrary to our expectations, commitment did not significantly affect knowledge contribution in virtual communities. This result may be due to the fact that knowledge contribution was voluntary in the virtual communities in our sample. Another plausible explanation for this result may be the self-selection bias for the survey respondents, who are more likely to contribute their knowledge to virtual communities. The relationship between self-presentation and knowledge contribution was found to be significant in virtual communities, supporting the results of prior literature. Group identification did not significantly affect knowledge contribution in this study, inconsistent with the wealth of research that identifies group identification as an important factor for knowledge sharing. This conflicting result calls for future research that examines the role of group identification in knowledge contribution in virtual communities. This study makes a contribution to theory development in the area of knowledge management in general and virtual communities in particular. For practice, the results of this study identify the circumstances under which individual factors would be effective for motivating knowledge contribution to virtual communities.
Knowledge residing in the heads of employees has always been regarded as one of the most critical resources within a firm. However, many tries to facilitate knowledge transfer among employees has been unsuccessful because of the motivational and cognitive problems between the knowledge source and the recipient. Social capital, which is defined as "the sum of the actual and potential resources embedded within, available through, derived from the network of relationships possessed by an individual or social unit [Nahapiet and Ghoshal, 1998]," is suggested to resolve these motivational and cognitive problems of knowledge transfer. In Social capital theory, there are two research streams. One insists that social capital strengthens group solidarity and brings up cooperative behaviors among group members, such as voluntary help to colleagues. Therefore, social capital can motivate an expert to transfer his/her knowledge to a colleague in need without any direct reward. The other stream insists that social capital provides an access to various resources that the owner of social capital doesn't possess directly. In knowledge transfer context, an employee with social capital can access and learn much knowledge from his/her colleagues. Therefore, social capital provides benefits to both the knowledge source and the recipient in different ways. However, prior research on knowledge transfer and social capital is mostly limited to either of the research stream of social capital and covered only the knowledge source's or the knowledge recipient's perspective. Social network theory which focuses on the structural dimension of social capital provides clear explanation about the in-depth mechanisms of social capital's two different benefits. 'Strong tie' builds up identification, trust, and emotional attachment between the knowledge source and the recipient; therefore, it motivates the knowledge source to transfer his/her knowledge to the recipient. On the other hand, 'weak tie' easily expands to 'diverse' knowledge sources because it does not take much effort to manage. Therefore, the real value of 'weak tie' comes from the 'diverse network structure,' not the 'weak tie' itself. It implies that the two different perspectives on strength of ties can co-exist. For example, an extroverted employee can manage many 'strong' ties with 'various' colleagues. In this regards, the individual-level structure of one's relationships as well as the dyadic-level relationship should be considered together to provide a holistic view of social capital. In addition, interaction effect between individual-level characteristics and dyadic-level characteristics can be examined, too. Based on these arguments, this study has following research questions. (1) How does the social capital of the knowledge source and the recipient influence knowledge transfer respectively? (2) How does the strength of ties between the knowledge source and the recipient influence knowledge transfer? (3) How does the social capital of the knowledge source and the recipient influence the effect of the strength of ties between the knowledge source and the recipient on knowledge transfer? Based on Social capital theory and Social network theory, a multi-level research model is developed to consider both the individual-level social capital of the knowledge source and the recipient and the dyadic-level strength of relationship between the knowledge source and the recipient. 'Cross-classified random effect model,' one of the multi-level analysis methods, is adopted to analyze the survey responses from 337 R&D employees. The results of analysis provide several findings. First, among three dimensions of the knowledge source's social capital, network centrality (i.e., structural dimension) shows the significant direct effect on knowledge transfer. On the other hand, the knowledge recipient's network centrality is not influential. Instead, it strengthens the influence of the strength of ties between the knowledge source and the recipient on knowledge transfer. It means that the knowledge source's network centrality does not directly increase knowledge transfer. Instead, by providing access to various knowledge sources, the network centrality provides only the context where the strong tie between the knowledge source and the recipient leads to effective knowledge transfer. In short, network centrality has indirect effect on knowledge transfer from the knowledge recipient's perspective, while it has direct effect from the knowledge source's perspective. This is the most important contribution of this research. In addition, contrary to the research hypothesis, company tenure of the knowledge recipient negatively influences knowledge transfer. It means that experienced employees do not look for new knowledge and stick to their own knowledge. This is also an interesting result. One of the possible reasons is the hierarchical culture of Korea, such as a fear of losing face in front of subordinates. In a research methodology perspective, multi-level analysis adopted in this study seems to be very promising in management research area which has a multi-level data structure, such as employee-team-department-company. In addition, social network analysis is also a promising research approach with an exploding availability of online social network data.
Our society has long been talking about necessity for innovation. Since companies in particular need to carry out business innovation in their overall processes, they have attempted to apply many innovation factors on sites and become to pay more attention to their innovation. In order to achieve this goal, companies has applied various information technologies (IT) on sites as a means of innovation, and consequently IT have been greatly developed. It is natural for the field of IT to have faced another revolution which is called cloud computing, which is expected to result in innovative changes in software application via the Internet, data storing, the use of devices, and their operations. As a vehicle of innovation, cloud computing is expected to lead the changes and advancement of our society and the business world. Although many scholars have researched on a variety of topics regarding the innovation via IT, few studies have dealt with the issue of could computing as IT. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to set the variables of innovation attributes based on the previous articles as the characteristic variables and clarify how these variables affect "Performance Expectancy" of companies and the intention of using cloud computing. The result from the analysis of data collected in this study is as follows. The study utilized a research model developed on the innovation diffusion theory to identify influences on the adaptation and spreading IT for cloud computing services. Second, this study summarized the characteristics of cloud computing services as a new concept that introduces innovation at its early stage of adaptation for companies. Third, a theoretical model is provided that relates to the future innovation by suggesting variables for innovation characteristics to adopt cloud computing services. Finally, this study identified the factors affecting expectation and the intention to use the cloud computing service for the companies that consider adopting the cloud computing service. As the parameter and dependent variable respectively, the study deploys the independent variables that are aligned with the characteristics of the cloud computing services based on the innovation diffusion model, and utilizes the expectation for performance and Intention to Use based on the UTAUT theory. Independent variables for the research model include Relative Advantage, Complexity, Compatibility, Cost Saving, Trialability, and Observability. In addition, 'Acceptance for Adaptation' is applied as an adjustment variable to verify the influences on the expected performances from the cloud computing service. The validity of the research model was secured by performing factor analysis and reliability analysis. After confirmatory factor analysis is conducted using AMOS 7.0, the 20 hypotheses are verified through the analysis of the structural equation model, accepting 12 hypotheses among 20. For example, Relative Advantage turned out to have the positive effect both on Individual Performance and on Strategic Performance from the verification of hypothesis, while it showed meaningful correlation to affect Intention to Use directly. This indicates that many articles on the diffusion related Relative Advantage as the most important factor to predict the rate to accept innovation. From the viewpoint of the influence on Performance Expectancy among Compatibility and Cost Saving, Compatibility has the positive effect on both Individual Performance and on Strategic Performance, while it showed meaningful correlation with Intention to Use. However, the topic of the cloud computing service has become a strategic issue for adoption in companies, Cost Saving turns out to affect Individual Performance without a significant influence on Intention to Use. This indicates that companies expect practical performances such as time and cost saving and financial improvements through the adoption of the cloud computing service in the environment of the budget squeezing from the global economic crisis from 2008. Likewise, this positively affects the strategic performance in companies. In terms of effects, Trialability is proved to give no effects on Performance Expectancy. This indicates that the participants of the survey are willing to afford the risk from the high uncertainty caused by innovation, because they positively pursue information about new ideas as innovators and early adopter. In addition, they believe it is unnecessary to test the cloud computing service before the adoption, because there are various types of the cloud computing service. However, Observability positively affected both Individual Performance and Strategic Performance. It also showed meaningful correlation with Intention to Use. From the analysis of the direct effects on Intention to Use by innovative characteristics for the cloud computing service except the parameters, the innovative characteristics for the cloud computing service showed the positive influence on Relative Advantage, Compatibility and Observability while Complexity, Cost saving and the likelihood for the attempt did not affect Intention to Use. While the practical verification that was believed to be the most important factor on Performance Expectancy by characteristics for cloud computing service, Relative Advantage, Compatibility and Observability showed significant correlation with the various causes and effect analysis. Cost Saving showed a significant relation with Strategic Performance in companies, which indicates that the cost to build and operate IT is the burden of the management. Thus, the cloud computing service reflected the expectation as an alternative to reduce the investment and operational cost for IT infrastructure due to the recent economic crisis. The cloud computing service is not pervasive in the business world, but it is rapidly spreading all over the world, because of its inherited merits and benefits. Moreover, results of this research regarding the diffusion innovation are more or less different from those of the existing articles. This seems to be caused by the fact that the cloud computing service has a strong innovative factor that results in a new paradigm shift while most IT that are based on the theory of innovation diffusion are limited to companies and organizations. In addition, the participants in this study are believed to play an important role as innovators and early adapters to introduce the cloud computing service and to have competency to afford higher uncertainty for innovation. In conclusion, the introduction of the cloud computing service is a critical issue in the business world.
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