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Online social network acceptance: a social perspective

David C. Li (The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 12 August 2011




Building upon studies of social psychology and information system literature, this study aims to propose and empirically test a research model that incorporates interpersonal motives (sociability and status) and hedonic motive (perceived enjoyment), and the three processes of social influence: compliance, identification and internalisation, to explain one's intention to use social network (SN) web sites.


The data were obtained from an online survey of 274 SN web site users. Structural equation modelling analysis was used to validate the proposed model.


The results indicate that social influence affects intention directly through the compliance process. Social influence, when exerted through the identification and internalization processes, affects intention indirectly via the two interpersonal motives (sociability and status) and perceived enjoyment. The two interpersonal motives affect intention indirectly via perceived enjoyment.

Research limitations/implications

This study advances theory by examining how the social influence processes affect one's behavioural intention via the interpersonal and hedonic motives.

Practical implications

These findings help online SNs to devise strategies to attract and retain users.


This study provides evidence that social influence processes are also operative in one's adoption of information technology in non‐work settings. It also shows that people have two interpersonal motives in mind when they develop an online relationship with others.



Li, D.C. (2011), "Online social network acceptance: a social perspective", Internet Research, Vol. 21 No. 5, pp. 562-580.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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