Underpinnings of User Participation in Innovation on Online Communication Platforms

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School of Science | Doctoral thesis (article-based) | Defence date: 2016-05-27
Degree programme
101 + app. 143
Aalto University publication series DOCTORAL DISSERTATIONS, 102/2016
The aim of this dissertation is to advance the understanding of the motivational and behavioral factors affecting user participation in innovation on online communication platforms. In particular, social networking service (SNS)-based brand communities (such as Facebook) have been recognized as effective platforms for practicing user innovation, and they are very popular among small, medium and large organizations. However, these platforms suffer from two major challenges, user retention and continuous user participation. Prior literature has paid little attention to understanding these important issues of user participation in the innovation process. Therefore, this dissertation aims to fill these gaps by investigating different factors that affect user participation and retention in innovation on SNS-based brand communities.                              The research questions of the dissertation are addressed using quantitative research methods and psychometrics. This dissertation utilized several theoretical frameworks, including the flow theory, consumption value theory, uses and gratification theory, social cognitive theory, the theory of reasoned action, and developmental psychology to explain different aspects of user participation in innovation on online communication platforms. A total of five empirical research articles were undertaken to address the different aspects of the phenomenon. The present thesis developed an instrument for measuring users' flow experience during SNS and SNS-based brand communities' use. It examined users' online regret experience in SNS from the perspective of their demographic characteristics and flow experience. The thesis also investigated users' participation from the perspective of the participation facilitating functionalities (i.e., commenting). Finally, the present thesis aimed at understanding the reasons that motivate users to continue participating in SNS-based brand communities. The main results of the dissertation are: First, a valid and reliable flow experience instrument for addressing the different dimensions of users' flow experience was developed. Second, it was found that online regret was experienced by older adolescents and those spending more time on SNS-based brand communities, and was positively correlated to playfulness and focused attention. Third, the elements of self-efficacy, social influence, reciprocal benefit and hedonic motivation were found to influence users' attitudes towards the usage of the commenting in SNS-based brand communities. Fourth, playfulness and social enhancement were found to predict users' intention to continue using SNS-based brand communities. Fifth, a valid and reliable instrument measuring users' flow experience during the usage of SNS-based brand communities was developed.
Supervising professor
Rajala, Risto, Prof., Aalto University, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Finland
Thesis advisor
Westerlund, Mika, Prof., Carleton University, Canada
Chen, Sufen, Prof., National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST), Taiwan
continued service usage, user innovation, user participation, user retention, online brand community, social media
Other note
  • [Publication 1]: Kaur, P., Dhir, A., Chen, S., & Rajala, R. (2016). Flow in Context: Development and Validation of a Flow Experience Instrument for Social Networking. Computers in Human Behavior, 59, 358-367.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2016.02.039 View at publisher
  • [Publication 2]: Kaur, P., Dhir, A., Chen, S., & Rajala, R. (2016). Understanding online regret experience using the theoretical lens of flow experience. Computers in Human Behavior, 57, 230-239.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2015.12.041 View at publisher
  • [Publication 3]: Kaur, P. (2016). Underpinnings of User Participation in Service Provider-hosted Online Communities. In Press, Service Science
  • [Publication 4]: Kaur, P., Dhir, A., Rajala, R., & Dwivedi, Y. (2016) Understanding motives behind continued usage of Facebook-based brand communities. (Under Review)
  • [Publication 5]: Kaur, P., Dhir, A., & Rajala, R. (2016) Assessing Flow Experience in Social Networking Sites: An Instrument Development and Validation Approach. In Press, Computers in Human Behavior