Determinants of Commitment in an Online Community : Assessing the Antecedents of Weak Ties and Their Impact

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-296
Journal / PublicationJournal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce
Issue number4
Online published26 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


Research argues that participants contribute to online communities because they have developed commitment to that community. Even relatively light commitment—“weak ties”—can make an impact on community participation. We hypothesize and empirically verify that users’ reading activity is an important factor in creating commitment. In doing so, we support and contextualize the Theory of Weak Ties through the investigation of weak “readership ties.” Our research formulates both of these constructs, readership ties and commitment, as part of a larger model that identifies perceived site asset value as an important antecedent for readership ties and, thus, commitment. The empirical investigation draws on survey data from 144 members of the Slashdot community. We find all of our hypotheses confirmed, indicating that all types of site assets (community members, knowledge, and technology) increase perceived site value, and that, in turn, increased perceived site asset value leads to more active usage and higher commitment, thus demonstrating the impact of weak ties.

Research Area(s)

  • commitment, community asset, knowledge asset, online community, readership ties, strength of weak ties, technology asset

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