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Localization of computer-mediated communication and corporate impression on online communities

Christine Hallier Willi (School of Management and Law, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Wadenswil, Switzerland)
Bang Nguyen (East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China) (Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Shanghai University, Shanghai, China)
T.C. Melewar (The Business School, Middlesex University London, London, UK)
Suraksha Gupta (Kent Business School, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK)
Xiaoyu Yu (School of Management, Shanghai University, Shanghai, China)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 21 March 2019

Issue publication date: 2 September 2019




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the importance of localizing online communities (OCs) and examines how OC members form impressions of organizations that use OCs in their communication activities. A conceptual framework and measurement scale are developed that consist of complex latent constructs.


A sequential multi-method approach is adopted with both qualitative and quantitative investigations. Using Structural equation modeling, the research refines and validates the measurement scales of impression formation in OCs.


Findings reveal that comprehensive messages have a direct effect on the impressions that an OC member forms. In particular, social context cues are an important predictor of online community corporate impression (OCCIP). Source credibility, affiliation, characteristics and interpersonal communication are all critical to OCCIP, which in turn, influence members’ attitudes toward the company and the intention to use it again. Surprisingly, relevance, timeliness, accuracy and perceived similarity did not have any significant effect on the corporate impression.


Three contributions are offered: First, the study provides reliable scales for measuring OCCIP. Second, support is given to the conceptual model that links OCCIP to a set of consequences, namely, attitudes toward the company, intention to use the company, and word-of-mouth. Finally, the study is conducted across two different and unique types of OC contexts, stipulating further insights into the localization of OCs.



This study received support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71772117).


Hallier Willi, C., Nguyen, B., Melewar, T.C., Gupta, S. and Yu, X. (2019), "Localization of computer-mediated communication and corporate impression on online communities", Internet Research, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 940-969.



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