An investigation of antecedents to social media engagement behaviours

  • Tara Angela Goddard

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


It is becoming increasingly important for firms to encourage customer's voluntary contributions beyond the purchase transaction through customer engagement marketing efforts (Harmeling et al., 2017), particularly as these contributions, which are the behavioural dimension of customer engagement, called customer engagement behaviour (CEB), influence the customer-brand relationship. This thesis therefore seeks to investigate the antecedents of social media engagement behaviours with a focus on customer related antecedents.More specifically, this research investigates the antecedents to the specific social media engagement behaviours learning, sharing and endorsing. The research identifies the motivational drivers that influence learning, sharing and endorsing, which, according to Van Doorn et al. (2010) are required for CEBs to occur. The research then determines if the identified motivational drivers mediate the relationship between the personality-related factors and learning, sharing and endorsing. The personality-related factors investigated include, personality traits and causality orientations - an individual's characteristic behavioural patterns (Teixeira et al., 2012). Similarly, the research also determines if the identified motivational drivers mediate the relationship between brand relationship commitment and learning, sharing and endorsing.The research was undertaken using two stages of data collection and analysis which both utilised online questionnaires (N=146, and N=382, respectively). Using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, pleasure, self-interest, rewards and venting negative feelings were identified as the motivational drivers. Additionally, using path analysis, evidence was found of indirect relationships between the personality-related antecedents investigated and learning, sharing and endorsing through the motivational drivers identified.;Among others, it was found that pleasure positively mediated the relationship between extraverted customers and sharing and endorsing in the social media environment. Evidence was also found of indirect relationships betweenbrand relationship commitment and the behaviours through pleasure and self-interest.The findings of this research have therefore contributed to the theory around customer engagement, CEB, self-determination theory, trait theory and customer-brand relationship theory by demonstrating that specific antecedents work together with motivational drivers to influence learning, sharing and endorsing in the social media environment.These findings also indicate to managers the types of initiatives which will be effective in driving specific behaviours in the social media environment. Furthermore, based on these findings suggestions were made to managers as to what types of responses to the specific behaviours demonstrated by customers would be useful in order to maintain the customer-brand relationship. To illustrate, it was found that self-interest mediates the relationship between customers who are highly committed to a relationship with the brand and sharing and endorsing in the social media environment. It is therefore suggested that managers provide badges, ratings or personal thanks to these customers to indicate that this behaviour is valued to ensure that customers continue taking part in these behaviours.
Date of Award17 Dec 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde
SupervisorAlan Wilson (Supervisor) & Maria Karampela (Supervisor)

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