The role of consumer participation and engagement in influencing loyalty and word-of-mouth
: user generated brand communities

  • Min Parsad Bhandari

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This research aims to investigate the role of consumer engagement in influencing loyalty and word-of-mouth through a user generated brand community on Facebook by collecting evidence from both quantitative and qualitative studies. A quantitative study is adopted to test the engagement dimension and its relationships with other constructs, such as participation, loyalty, and word-of-mouth, with a sample size of 551 collected among Facebook users in the UK. The empirical analysis from the quantitative data supports the ABC (i.e., affective, cognitive, and behavioural) dimensions of engagement as assumed in the study and finds a positive relationship between engagement, participation, loyalty, and word-of-mouth. Similarly, a qualitative study is adopted in the form of a semi-structured interview held with six user Apple brand champions from an Apple user generated online brand community on Facebook. A thematic analysis is conducted to analyse the engagement dimensions and their relationship to participation, loyalty, and word-of-mouth.

In addition, the application of both the methods (i.e., the quantitative and qualitative studies) to investigate the main aim helps the research to attain complementarity. The combination of both methods provides evidence to justify the engagement dimensions and their relation to participation, loyalty, and word-of-mouth. The quantitative study supports the argued engagement dimensions and their relationship with other constructs, whereas the qualitative study explores other components of engagement and their relationship with similar constructs, as well as helping to enhance the relationships and dimensions of engagement.

Moreover, this study contributes to marketing literature by empirically validating customer loyalty and word-of-mouth as outcomes of customer participation and engagement. No study so far has empirically investigated the effect of customer engagement on loyalty and word-of-mouth in a user-generated online brand community context. This enhanced understanding of vigour, personal identity, attention, absorption, sharing, and learning suggests that marketers should concentrate on the type of information presented, as well as the format in which information is presented outside the company’s networks. Community markers, such as feelings, emotions, excitement, contribution, and interaction with peers, contribute significantly to engaging and influencing loyalty and word-of-mouth with both the brand community and the brand itself.
Date of AwardJan 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Abertay University
SupervisorGary Mulholland (Supervisor) & Jason Turner (Supervisor)


  • Consumer engagement
  • Loyalty
  • Word of mouth
  • Brand communities

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