Groupthink 2.0: an empirical analysis of customers' conformity-seeking in online communities

Breitsohl, J. , Wilcox-Jones, J. P. and Harris, I. (2015) Groupthink 2.0: an empirical analysis of customers' conformity-seeking in online communities. Journal of Customer Behaviour, 14(2), pp. 87-106. (doi: 10.1362/147539215x14373846805662)

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Online communities have witnessed an ongoing interest from both digital practitioners and scholars alike. Whilst the motives for and outcomes of customers' participation have been convincingly evidenced, there is a lack of conceptual and empirical understanding on the decision-making processes within virtual groups. This study employs Janis' (1972) Groupthink theory to investigate customers' tendency to conform when making decisions in a financial online community. Based on a sample of 343 respondents and multiple regression analysis, it is shown that perceived stress and group insulation have a positive influence upon Groupthink, whilst group cohesion has a negative effect. The findings support the applicability of Groupthink theory in an online context and emphasise defective social decision-making processes in online communities as a key priority for future research. Digital marketers gain insight on strategies to manage their customers' conformity-seeking tendencies and to prevent dysfunctional decision-making processes.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Breitsohl, Dr Jan
Authors: Breitsohl, J., Wilcox-Jones, J. P., and Harris, I.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Journal of Customer Behaviour
Publisher:Westburn Publishers
ISSN (Online):1477-6421

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