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Working consumers’ psychological states in firm-hosted virtual communities

Wei Wei Cheryl Leo (School of Business and Governance, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia)
Cindy Yunhsin Chou (College of Management, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan) (College of Management, Yuan Ze University, Taoyuan, Taiwan)
Tom Chen (Newcastle Business School, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia) (Research School of Management, College of Business and Economics, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia)

Journal of Service Management

ISSN: 1757-5818

Article publication date: 14 June 2019

Issue publication date: 8 August 2019




Consumers’ self-interests and personal goals in attaining collective goals are rarely considered in firm-hosted virtual communities (FHVCs). Based on working consumers paradigm and agency theory, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the joint impact of consumers’ psychological states of empowerment, engagement and entitlement on value cocreation behaviors in FHVCs.


US consumer panel data were used to test the proposed model on customers (n=338) participating in a FHVC.


The results show significant effects of the psychological states of empowerment, engagement and entitlement on value cocreation. Of these three states, psychological empowerment had the strongest effect. The predictive strength of entitlement for value cocreation is weaker for individuals with high knowledge of the community (KC). Practitioner interviews conducted with FHVC managers establish the states and set forth an emerging research agenda.

Research limitations/implications

This study extends the cocreation literature to establish the holistic importance of psychological states as key antecedents of value cocreation for working consumers. It acknowledges agency motives and establishes KC as a moderating condition.

Practical implications

The explication of consumers’ psychological states has implications for the benchmarking and design of consumer portfolios.


This study advances the literature on cocreation by collectively examining three psychological states of consumers through the lens of working consumers paradigm and agency theory. It also establishes KC as an important boundary resource condition.



The authors thank Dr Philip Chia’s insightful comments to the early version of the manuscript. This work is supported in part by the Ministry of Science and Technology Taiwan under Grant No. MOST 105-2633-H-155-003 and MOST 105-2410-H-155-024.


Leo, W.W.C., Chou, C.Y. and Chen, T. (2019), "Working consumers’ psychological states in firm-hosted virtual communities", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 302-325.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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