Groupthink 2.0: An empirical analysis of customers' conformity-seeking in online communities
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.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: June 1, 2015
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