This study aims to identify the benefits and costs of participation in small group consumption communities (SGCCs), and understand how benefits and costs experienced in these communities differ from those experienced in large group consumption communities (LGCCs).
Thematic analysis of data collected through multi-method approach comprising depth-interviews, participant observation of community events and online community forums was used to identify benefits and costs of SGCC participation.
Eight benefits and three costs of SGCC participation were identified. While some benefits and costs were found to be similar to those identified in LGCCs earlier, their experience and manifestation was found to differ significantly in SGCCs.
Data were collected from SGCCs located in India (collectivist culture). Hence, findings may not be reflective of individualist cultures.
Understanding that benefits and costs of community participation are experienced differently in SGCCs and LGCCs may be useful input for managers wanting to seed/nurture consumption communities. By increasing benefits and reducing costs, managers can transform communities into vibrant social systems, and thereby improve members’ engagement and involvement.
Of the eight benefits identified in the study, two benefits – Escape and Meaningful Engagement are identified for the first time. The study also explores costs of SGCC participation (an area hitherto under explored) in detail. In addition, the study illustrates how some of the benefits despite being seemingly similar in SGCCs and LGCCs are inherently different.
Agrawal, R. and Ramachandran, G. (2017), "Flocking together – benefits and costs of small group consumption community participation", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 51 No. 9/10, pp. 1713-1738. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-02-2015-0073Download as .RIS
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