Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration-Marketing

Committee Director

Yuping Liu-Thompkins

Committee Director

Mahesh Gopinath

Committee Member

Chuanyi Tang

Committee Member

Russell Haines


Defined as groups of people who communicate with each other about brand and product via internet without restricted by geographical and ethnic origin constraints to accomplish collective goals, express mutual sentiments & commitments and entertainment, online brand communities are valuable source for marketing practitioners. Although content generation is heavily used in the literature, earlier studies assumes that user-generated content is monolith, and all aimed to brand. However, our experiences tell us that reality is far different from that. This study categorizes user generated content based on target audience, namely brand-oriented content and community-oriented content. Although both types of content are necessary for the success of the community, underlying factors behind what drives users to generate different types of content is unknown. By using equity theory, social determination theory, social comparison theory and social identity theory, this dissertation investigated how personal factors (extrinsic vs intrinsic motivations and independent vs interdependent self-construal of members) and brand/product factors (product visibility and brand luxury) drives members to generate brand-oriented content or community-oriented content.

Study 1 explored how online brand community members’ motivations and self-construal impact types of user generated content. Results show that participants who have strong extrinsic motivations and independent self-construal have greater focus on generation of brand-oriented content relative to community-oriented content and participants who have strong intrinsic motivations and interdependent self-construal have greater focus on generation of community-oriented content relative to brand-oriented content. However, we couldn’t find any support for interaction of self-construal and motivations.

Study 2 investigated whether product visibility has any impact on types of user generated content. Although more brand-oriented content is generated in online communities for less visible products, more community-oriented content is generated as well, and product visibility has no significant effect on content orientation. Study 3 explored influence of brand luxury on user generated content types. Findings show that brand luxury indeed has a significant main effect on content orientation, especially for community-oriented content generation.

These three different studies show that how personal and brand/product level factors influence generation of different content types in online brand communities. Findings show that members’ engagement motivations for online brand communities impacts their target audience when they generate content in the brand communities. This dissertation also shows that online brand community members have tendency to perceive the other members as real-life colleagues and prioritize them when engaging the community, especially for luxury brands. Based on the findings, managerial implications and future research directions are also discussed.







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