The context and content related determinants of professional social networking site usage – A perceived value perspective

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School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Information and Service Management (ISM)
80 + 10
Previous studies of organisational or recreational use of social networking sites (SNSs) are unable to fully explain a setting where work and play aspects combine, as in the case of professional SNS. This thesis aims at complementing the current research on SNS usage determinants by including the parallel roles of individual and professional self in using a professional SNS, a topic still academically sparse. This thesis applies the perceived value concept as a multidimensional determinant of SNS usage. Previous research has confirmed the relevance of perceived value in studying SNS continuance. In this study, perceived value is framed using context-content and individual-professional value scales for explaining the continuous usage of professional SNS. Theory on perceived consumption value (individual self) is complemented with social capital theory and the concept of resource pooling (professional self). Data from LinkedIn usage is then collected from users of different professional life stage. The research model and hypotheses are tested using PLS-SEM method. The key findings of this study both complement and confirm previous SNS research. First, the results indicate that the bridging social capital is a major contextual determinant of professional SNS usage whereas bonding social capital bears no clear significance. This is opposing to what previous literature on recreational SNS has claimed. Second, the hedonic value seems to be a stronger determinant of professional SNS usage than utilitarian value – something not expected in the case of professional service, but parallel to what has been found on recreational SNS. The perceived value approach brings a new perspective to SNS research and the robust empirical results verify the applicability of the individual-professional as well as the context-content scale of perceived value. The framework also shows substantial predictive capability which demonstrates its relevance for subsequent research.
Thesis advisor
Tuunainen, Virpi
Liu, Yong
social network site, perceived value, social capital, continuous usage, networking