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Title: Factors affecting active participation in business-to-business online business communities
Author: Gharib, Rebwar Kamal
Awarding Body: University of Bedfordshire
Current Institution: University of Bedfordshire
Date of Award: 2013
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The aim of this research is to investigate factors affecting active participation in Business-to-Business Online Business Communities (B2B OBCs). The primary objective of the study was to develop a framework to better understand the important factors affecting members’ active participation behaviour in B2B OBCs. To achieve the main goal of this research, an integrated framework was developed underpinned by three well known theories: Uses and Gratification (U&G), Social Exchange (SET), and Information Systems Success Model (ISSM). A mixed method approach (partially mixed sequential dominant status design) was employed to answer the research question and achieve the objectives of the study. Accordingly, this study was carried out in two phases. During the first phase an exploratory study was carried out to further explore the framework. For that purpose semi-structured interviews with twelve members of B2B OBCs were conducted. The collected data was analysed using thematic analysis utilising NVIVO and this assisted in discovering another important factor ‘service quality’, which reflected on the moderator’s role inside B2B OBCs. Subsequently, service quality was added to the model. The exploratory study is also helped to develop a new measure for active participation in the context of B2B OBCs as this study was unable to adapt the measure for the construct from prior studies due to the discrepancy in the literature. In the second phase of the study, a quantitative approach (online questionnaires) was employed to test the developed framework. Using non-probability convenience sampling technique, 521 useable online questionnaires were collected from 41 B2B OBCs on LinkedIn. The collected data was then analysed using a second generation approach (SEM) utilising AMOS. During the data analysis, two U&G constructs (functional need and hedonic need) were found to have a positive impact on active participation. Yet, the direct association between psychological need and active participation was not significant. Nevertheless, the construct found to have a positive and indirect relationship with active participation. In addition, two of the SET constructs (reciprocity and affective commitment) were also found to have a positive association with active participation. Trusting beliefs was found to have no direct impact on active participation. Further analysis revealed that the relationship between the two construct was indirect via affective commitment. Furthermore, three factors that were identified under ISSM, information quality, system quality, and service quality, were also found to be the antecedent of trusting beliefs but they did not have a direct impact on active participation. Information quality and service quality were also found to have an indirect and positive impact on affective commitment and active participation. The analysis also revealed that members from different industry types had different participation behaviour in B2B OBCs. The research outcomes made several contributions to the literature. These include a new measure for active participation and service quality. This provides a new validated instrument for B2B OBC researchers to adapt in the future. Further, an integrated model for factors affecting active participation in B2B OBCs was developed. This also provides a foundation for future studies in the field. The final results of this study demonstrate the appropriateness and robustness of the developed model, and further suggests that any attempt to investigate members participation behaviour in B2B OBCs will be incomplete unless all three theories (U&G, SET, and ISSM) are cosnidered. Moreover, this study helped to extend the existing knowledge on Online Community (OC) defintions, OC taxonomies, OC commitment, and OC trust. Finally, the findings of this study propose several guidelines to assist B2B OBC providers to build and maintain successful communities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: P900 Others in Mass Communications and Documentation ; business to business ; online community