Tracing social influence in responses to strategy change in an online community

Nicholas W. Castle, Ian A. Combe, Rushana Khusainova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interest into the effects of social influence on members of online communities is growing but there is a lack of knowledge about the impact of influential members in online communities on responses to strategy change within the wider community. We explore social influence in responses to strategy change through content analysis of forum posts before and after a change in strategy. Acceptance or non-acceptance of strategy change and subsequent positive and negative behavioural responses online are dependent on individual factors. The details of these behavioural responses to a change in strategy are tabulated and included in a conceptual model to inform decision-makers. Strategy change precipitates a reduction in social influence effects. Non-acceptance of strategy change is associated with competitor advertisement, inflammatory behaviour, offensive behaviour and complaints. This negative behaviour has important ramifications for acceptance of strategy change within the wider community and impacts on the viability of setting up online forums.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-375
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Strategic Marketing
Issue number4
Early online date20 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Journal of strategic marketing on (2014), available online:


  • content analysis
  • internet forums
  • market research
  • online communities
  • social influence
  • social networks


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