Relationship quality, community promotion and brand loyalty in virtual communities: Evidence from free software communities

En breve será publicado en la prestigiosa revista International Journal of Information Management un nuevo artículo en el que analizamos los modelos de desarrollo del software libre, y en especial, algunos de los factores fundamentales en la gestión de las comunidades del software libre.

El trabajo, titulado “Relationship quality, community promotion and brand loyalty in virtual communities: Evidence from free software communities“, ha sido realizado junto a los profesores Flavián y Casaló, y en él se pone de manifiesto que una gestión sustentada en la búsqueda de la satisfacción y la identificación con el grupo permite favorecer la participación y la promoción de la propia comunidad, así como la lealtad al software libre.

Abstract

The Internet has favored the growth of collaborative platforms where marketers and consumers interact to develop more engaging products and services. These platforms are usually centered in a specific brand/product and their members are linked by a shared admiration to that brand. This paper analyzes one of the most powerful online collaborative platforms, the free software (FS) case, which involves a lot of virtual communities developed around products such as Linux or Android, the new Google’s mobile operating system. Our purpose is to determine some of the main antecedents and consequences of the consumer involvement in this type of communities. Results have shown that satisfaction with a virtual community may increase the level of consumer participation in that community. At the same time, a greater identification with the virtual community may increase indirectly the consumer participation thanks to the enhancement of his/her satisfaction with the community. We have also found positive and significant effects of consumer identification and participation on the level of community promotion. Finally, positive and significant effects of consumer participation and satisfaction with the community on loyalty to the FS were also found. These findings allow us to conclude some interesting managerial implications.

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