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Leveraging the power of online social networks: a contingency approach

Sheau Fen Crystal Yap (Department of Marketing, Advertising, Retailing & Sales, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
Christina Kwai Choi Lee (Department of Marketing, School of Business, Monash University, Sunway Campus, Selangor, Malaysia)

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503

Article publication date: 29 April 2014




The purpose of this paper is to examine online community loyalty through an extension of the theory of planned behaviour by incorporating motivational drivers of enjoyment and compatibility and the moderating role of consumer traits.


Data were collected using an online survey of 382 Facebook users in Malaysia. Structural equation modelling was used to assess the hypothesised relationships.


Findings reveal that individuals’ attitude towards social network usage is associated with three factors: social influence, compatibility and enjoyment; attitude and usage behaviour are the determinants of online community loyalty. In addition, moderating effects are found in innovativeness and social network user experience.

Research limitations/implications

Generalisation of the results to other contexts or populations should be made with caution given the study's focus on Facebook and its use of non-probability sampling. Future research can cross-validate or extend the theoretical model across different samples and/or virtual community settings.

Practical implications

This study highlights the importance of designing online brand community web sites which are not only appealing and enjoyable but also acts as an outlet for its members to build upon their experiences and showcase their innovativeness.


This research contributes to a better understanding of how personal factors can either strengthen or attenuate a member's loyalty to his or her online community. The research framework developed in this study can serve as a springboard for future research to examine other virtual community engagement such as blogging, online advertising and online public relation activities.



The authors are grateful for the important contribution of the anonymous reviewers and the Editor of Marketing Intelligence and Planning in improving this manuscript. Appreciation is also extended to Sonjaya Gaur for his valuable guidance in the data analysis process.


Fen Crystal Yap, S. and Kwai Choi Lee, C. (2014), "Leveraging the power of online social networks: a contingency approach", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 345-374.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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