Social influences on purchase intention within virtual consumer communities

A social capital perspective

During my master ‘Information and Knowledge Management‘ at the VU University, I attended the course ‘Interactive Marketing’.Within this stream, I wrote a scientific conceptual paper about the social influences that exist within virtual consumer communities and how these influences can affect the purchase intentions of  community members. Since I think the developed model and underlying logic can be interesting and useful from various perspectives, I will describe the papers key findings and propositions.


A significant number of studies have focused on the buying behavior of consumers within online environments. Despite the large numbers of virtual communities focused on consumer-related objectives, little is known about the effects of these communities on consumers’ purchase intentions. Past studies primarily examined virtual community participation, but little is known how community members influence others regarding purchase decision processes. This study integrates consumer influence theories and social capital theory to construct a model for investigating how social capital within virtual consumer communities affects normative and informational social influences, which in turn affect consumers’ purchase intentions. By developing a theoretical model and proposing an online survey design strategy, it lays a foundation for future empirical support. The implications for research and practice and future research challenges are discussed.
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