A virtual community (VC) of committed members is of great strategic value to online firms and vendors owing to its ability to attract and retain members. However, online firms and vendors find it difficult to instill commitment among their VC members. Therefore, this study examines the mechanism of customer commitment formation in a relationship-cum-interest based VC. By understanding the mechanism of customer commitment formation in a VC, online firms and vendors can enhance customer commitment to the VC. Using the theory of reasoned action, this study finds that encouraging participation among customers is the springboard for customer commitment to the VC. However, customer participation should be balanced with a proper mix of cognition and affect enhancing aspects, particularly those aspects that arouse customers' interests and encourages relationship building among them. Online firms and vendors would thus benefit by encouraging personal relationships among their VC participants.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management
- Strategy and Management
- Library and Information Sciences