Influence of virtual world end-user motives on social capital

Mohamed, Mohamed Nazir Riad (2017) Influence of virtual world end-user motives on social capital. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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This virtual platform study enhances the building of stronger social communities. It researches the influence of end-user motives on social relationship dimensions by highlighting the mediating pathways of social connectivities. Developers and businesses can enlist the findings to customise their virtual end-user-targeted solutions and then deliver value-added virtual services and products.

The relationship between end-user motives and the formation of social capital remains critical in understanding casual influences; however, there has been no previous research looking at this relationship by considering social connectivities. Previous research on end-user motives and social capital within one type of online gaming environment indicated some driving factors behind the development and formation of social capital in virtual worlds.

This study focuses on active end-users participating in one of three substantive virtual world platforms to examine whether end-user motives influence their social capital dimensions.

Three basic theories—gratification, social relationship and social capital—underpin this study's social capital motives model. In this model, end-user motive antecedents— achievement, control, escapism and friendship—are linked to social connectivities through bridging and bonding, which, in turn, are linked to the social capital's cognitive, relational and structural dimensions.

An online global survey in English provided 274 valid and usable cases from three different virtual worlds.

A quantitative approach is used to test the proposed research framework model. The resulting empirically tested social capital motives model was bootstrap-validated using AMOS 22. The model delivered a high-quality fit across all relevant fit indices.

The social capital motives model verified 12 hypothesised paths as significant and theoretically justified. Here, achievement and escapism show a significant positive effect on bridging social connectivities, whereas control, escapism and friendship show a significant positive effect on bonding social connectivities.

Next, bridging social connectivities shows a strong positive effect on bonding social connectivities. Bridging social connectivities also offers a positive influence on cognitive social capital. Bonding social connectivities positively affects cognitive, relational and structural social capital dimensions. Finally, both the cognitive and structural dimensions are found to have a significant effect on the resulting relational social capital dimension.

The social capital motives model contributes to research within international business (particularly virtual world businesses and social media) and information technology platforms. Theoretically, this study's two-stage Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) path model integrates three theories and redefines bonding and bridging as social connectivities.

This study shows end-user motives can indirectly influence social capital dimensions through social connectivities. Thus, researchers investigating the formulation of social capital in virtual worlds can apply the social capital motives model as a starting point when developing their more advance social capital research models.

Businesses can engage the social capital motives model to further motivate their end-users to generate greater social capital, which, in turn, will strengthen interactions among existing end-users and, consequently, attract new end-users.

Item ID: 51750
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: bonding, bridging, control, escapism, gratification, online gaming, social capital dimensions, social communities, social connectivities, value-added virtual services, virtual worlds
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2017 01:51
FoR Codes: 08 INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES > 0801 Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing > 080111 Virtual Reality and Related Simulation @ 40%
08 INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES > 0806 Information Systems > 080699 Information Systems not elsewhere classified @ 20%
15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1503 Business and Management > 150399 Business and Management not elsewhere classified @ 40%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950205 Visual Communication @ 20%
89 INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES > 8999 Other Information and Communication Services > 899999 Information and Communication Services not elsewhere classified @ 45%
90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9099 Other Commercial Services and Tourism > 909999 Commercial Services and Tourism not elsewhere classified @ 35%
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