Social networks and customer involvement in new service development (NSD)

Marianna Sigala (University of the Aegean, Chios, Greece)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Publication date: 28 September 2012



The study aims to use netnography to investigate the role of customers' contributions in social networks for NSD purposes.


The study adopted an exploratory case study methodology to conduct a content analysis of customers' contributions in a social network, namely Netnography was used for data analysis and interpretation.


The findings reveal that online customers' interactions and dialogues enable customers to share and understand the context of using services, which in turn triggers emotions and cognition that help customers to generate and further enhance ideas for new services. Thus, the variety of customers and the sharing of their diverse roles have a positive influence on enabling participants of online social networks to generate new service ideas.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are applicable to the study's context, but future research should try to triangulate and enhance them by conducting studies in other contexts. The findings also provide ideas on how to further investigate the observational learning processes and behavioural impacts taking place amongst customers' interactions within online social networks.

Practical implications

The findings provide several implications showing firms why and how to nurture, develop and moderate online customer interactions to enhance the effectiveness of their NSD processes.


The paper examines the role and the management of customers' contributions in social networks for NSD purposes. The topic has received only limited attention in traditional and online settings. Several suggestions for further research are also provided.



Sigala, M. (2012), "Social networks and customer involvement in new service development (NSD)", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 24 No. 7, pp. 966-990.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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