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User acceptance of hedonic versus utilitarian social networking web sites

Anandan Pillai (Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, India)
Jaydeep Mukherjee (Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, India)

Journal of Indian Business Research

ISSN: 1755-4195

Article publication date: 23 August 2011




The technology acceptance model (TAM) was developed by Davies et al. to understand the utilitarian benefits of web sites. In recent times, scholars have extended TAM as theoretical underpinning to understand user acceptance of social networking web sites (SNWs) that were hedonic in nature, which seemed inappropriate. The purpose of this paper is to examine the differences in the user acceptance phenomenon of hedonic versus utilitarian SNWs, and highlight that it is essential to provide justice to varying value propositions offered by SNWs.


As the research study was variance based and followed a positivistic paradigm, the authors used survey methodology and collected data through online and offline questionnaires. In total, 181 usable responses were subjected to mediation analysis using structural equation modeling.


The perceived usefulness emerged as a significant mediator in the case of utilitarian SNWs and perceived enjoyment emerged as a significant mediator in the case of hedonic SNWs user acceptance phenomenon.

Research limitations/implications

One web site each from hedonic and utilitarian SNWs was considered for the study. Future studies may be conducted by incorporating multiple web sites in each category to further emphasize the findings. Also, future studies might study the user acceptance phenomenon on the theoretical underpinning of the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology, which is much comprehensive than TAM.

Practical implications

There seems to be a notion that SNWs need to be hedonic and offer entertainment value proposition to attract large number of users. However, SNWs with valuable utilitarian value propositions built around appreciable ideas would also be accepted by users as an efficient networking tool.


Research on user acceptance of SNWs has been focused mostly on hedonic SNWs like Facebook and MySpace, while user acceptance of utilitarian SNWs like LinkedIn and Ryze has remained an unexplored domain.



Pillai, A. and Mukherjee, J. (2011), "User acceptance of hedonic versus utilitarian social networking web sites", Journal of Indian Business Research, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 180-191.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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