Managing Successful and Resilient Shared-Interest Communities: The role of digitization technologies and disruptive events Defended on Friday, 17 June 2022
Shared-interest communities – social groups of people gathering around a common interest – represent a centralized source of information, knowledge, social support, and entertainment. Every day, millions of people resort to digital and in-person communities to meet, discuss, solve problems, and even manage disruptive situations, such as natural or civil crises, financial instability, and product recalls. Given the role of shared-interest communities in the lives of consumers, businesses, institutions, and citizens, several streams of literature investigated the antecedents of community participation, success, and resilience. However, it is still unclear how the emergence of new technologies and the occurrence of (often disruptive) external events relate to the success and sustainability of shared-interest communities. In three essays, this dissertation sheds light into the dynamics of shared-interest communities under the influence of changing technologies and external events. Three questions are addressed: (i) What is the impact of digitizing community activities on the participation intentions of community members?; (ii) What is the effect of negative vs. positive shocks to a community's purpose on community dynamics?; (iii) What is the effect of a brand crisis on consumer engagement and patterns of information spread in brand communities? This dissertation contributes to the scientific and managerial understanding of the circumstances that allow shared-interest communities to thrive in a complex world. As digitized human interactions become the new norm, and external events prompt dramatic collective action on digital platforms, the findings of this dissertation are both extremely timely and insightful for researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers alike.
Online communities, social networks, digital marketing, digitization, network disruption, community management