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Modeling consumer switching behavior in social network games by exploring consumer cognitive dissonance and change experience

Yong Liu (School of Business, Department of Information and Service Economy, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland)
Hongxiu Li (Turku School of Economics, Information Systems Science, Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, University of Turku, Turku, Finland)
Xiaoyu Xu (Taobao (China) Software Co., Ltd., Hangzhou, China)
Vassilis Kostakos (Comag, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland)
Jukka Heikkilä (Turku School of Economics, Information Systems Science, Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, University of Turku, Turku, Finland)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 9 May 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to model the effect of alternative products in motivating consumers’ e-service switching behavior in the context of the social network game (SNG) industry. In particular, the effects of both alternative attractiveness and change experience on switching behavior are quantified.

Design/methodology/approach

With the aid of a leading e-service provider in China, 220,000 questionnaires were distributed to the players of a SNG. Valid responses from potential switching users are included in the data analysis. Structural equation modeling technique is utilized to test the research framework.

Findings

The study found that alternative attractiveness negatively affects both the perceived service quality and individual users’ satisfaction with their current SNG. Additionally, alternative attractiveness has a strong and positive impact on both switching intention and behavior. The results show that users’ satisfaction and perceptions on service quality deteriorate significantly when faced with the presence of attractive SNG alternatives. The effect is stronger for the customers used to switching.

Originality/value

The study is among the first to introduce cognitive dissonance theory to explain e-service switching behavior. A number of new hypotheses are proposed, tested and supported. The results of the study illustrate the use of cognitive dissonance as an alternative perspective of understanding users’ switching behavior in a real-world free-choice situation.

Keywords

Citation

Liu, Y., Li, H., Xu, X., Kostakos, V. and Heikkilä, J. (2016), "Modeling consumer switching behavior in social network games by exploring consumer cognitive dissonance and change experience", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 116 No. 4, pp. 801-820. https://doi.org/10.1108/IMDS-05-2015-0170

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited