Title: Online Community Experience (OCE) and its impact on customer attitudes: an exploratory study

Authors: Priya Nambisan, James Watt

Addresses: Department of Health Policy, Management and Behavior, School of Public Health, University at Albany, SUNY, 1 University Place, Rm. 185, Rensselaer, NY 12144, USA. ' Department of Language, Literature and Communication, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 110 & 8th Street, Sage 4518, Troy, NY 12180, USA

Abstract: Many companies have realised the critical importance of online product communities as a tool to facilitate interactions amongst their customers and to strengthen customer-product ties. This study proposes a new construct, Online Community Experience (OCE), to enhance our understanding of customers| online interactions in such communities and its impact on customers| product-related perceptions and attitudes. We draw on diverse theoretical areas including computer-mediated communication, information processing, and brand communities to identify the critical antecedents of OCE. The model was validated using data collected from a sample of 108 subjects through a set of two questionnaires. The study findings offer strong support for the model and indicate the importance of OCE as a critical mediating variable in understanding the impact of online community participation on customer attitudes and perceptions. The key implications for future research and managerial practice in the areas of online communities, marketing communication, and customer relationship management are discussed.

Keywords: online community experience; OCE; online communities; customer experience; product communities; electronic marketing; virtual communities; web based communities; customer perceptions; consumer attitudes; customer relationship management; CRM.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEMR.2008.019815

International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing, 2008 Vol.2 No.2, pp.150 - 175

Published online: 04 Aug 2008 *

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