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Servicing through digital interactions and well-being in virtual communities

Chou, C.Y., Leo, W.W.C. and Chen, T. (2021) Servicing through digital interactions and well-being in virtual communities. Journal of Services Marketing, ahead-of-print .

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Applying social exchange theory as the theoretical basis, this paper aims to examine the impacts of two forms of digital social interaction on social well-being and helping behavior of customers: moderator–customer interaction quality and customer–customer social support. Furthermore, this paper investigates customer exchange ideology as a moderator of these impacts.


This paper adopted a purposive sampling method for survey materials sent to customers of firm-hosted virtual communities (FHVCs) using a consumer panel service company. The self-administered survey was developed from existing scales, and 265 usable responses were obtained.


Both forms of digital social interaction within FHVCs positively impact social well-being, which in turn positively influences helping behavior in the community. Social well-being is decomposed into social integration and social contribution, and each partially mediates the impact of customer–customer social support and moderator–customer interaction quality on helping behavior. This finding provides greater explanatory power for the role that digital social interactions have in predicting customer helping behavior in an FHVC. In addition, an exchange ideology positively moderates the impact of customer–customer social support on helping behavior via social integration.


This paper demonstrates that resource exchange dynamics occur digitally within FHVCs, which then affect social well-being and helping behaviors in customers. From a practical point of view, this study indicates the potential that digital interactions have in generating social and economic value through helping behaviors.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Murdoch Business School
Publisher: Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright: © 2021 Emerald Publishing Limited
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