This study aims to investigate how residents’ perceptions of the image of their place of living influence their level of commitment toward it. The mediating role of human place bonds (place attachment and place identity) and the moderating effect of the socio-demographic characteristics of the host community in this relationship is specifically examined.
The theoretical direct–indirect–moderation relationships are examined using structural equation modeling and moderated-mediation or condition process analysis (Hayes and Preacher, 2013). Data were collected from 472 residents living in Belgrade (Serbia).
The findings support the contention that place attachment and place identity mediate the relationship between place image and commitment. The study further shows that the conditional indirect relationship of place image with commitment through place attachment and place identity is significant for age. Age and place of birth are found to moderate the relationship between place image and place attachment.
A stimulating avenue for future research is to explore the effect of culture (individualist, short-term oriented and low on power distance vs collectivist, long-term oriented and high on power distance cultures) on model’s relationships as well as on commitment specifically.
To enhance their residents’ commitment, place marketers should focus on two levels of action. The first lever is to assess how residents perceive the image of the place where they live as it can serve as a strategic outline to explore their level of support and address the possible negative feelings they may have toward any development project. The second level of action is developing bottom up strategies that are likely to enhance residents’ commitment which aims at transforming residents into active place ambassadors and actors of the public life of the city.
To the best of authors’ knowledge, this study is one of the first in the place branding research domain to examine the role of human place bonds in the relationship between place image and commitment using mediation, moderation, and moderated-mediation analyses. Moreover, place branding literature is underdeveloped regarding the current issues most post-communist countries face.
Tournois, L. and Rollero, C. (2020), "What determines residents’ commitment to a post-communist city? A moderated mediation analysis", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 52-68. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBM-10-2018-2065
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