Tie strength is the notion that has attracted the most attention in social network research and the one that has led to the most substantive contributions in understanding the effect of network structure on economic outcomes. However, there is no real consensus as to the conceptual definition of tie strength. Moreover, little empirical research has been conducted to investigate the effect of network tie strength and structure on consumer attitudes and intentions. The current research addresses these issues in two essays. The first essay reviews how tie strength has been defined and measured in prior research and proposes a two-dimensional conceptual framework. Tie strength is defined as the quantitative and qualitative nature of the interpersonal relationship between two individuals in a social network and is formatively indicated by the temporal overlap and emotional closeness perceived by one individual regarding another individual. Results from two studies show that tie strength has two formative dimensions: (1) temporal overlap, formatively indicated by interaction frequency, relationship duration, and activity diversity; and (2) emotional closeness, formatively indicated by disclosure of feelings, goals, network, and physical intimacy. Further, the two dimensions additively contribute to the overall tie strength. The second essay advocates a microstructural view of social influence in consumer networks that integrates sociocentric and egocentric approaches to network research and combines relational and structural embeddedness in understanding tie strength. Based on the perspectives of social network theory, social cognition, and word of mouth (WOM) persuasion, it is hypothesized that the strength of ties between a consumer and a persuasion network (P-N tie strength) and the strength of ties within the persuasion network (W-N tie strength) interact in determining consumer attitudes toward products and their intentions to purchase and recommend. Specifically, when the consumer has strong P-N ties with the persuasion network, weak W-N ties tend to be more persuasive than strong W-N ties. When consumers have weak P-N ties with the persuasion network, there is no significant difference between the effects of weak W-N ties and strong W-N ties. The hypothesis is supported by a two-phase online field experiment conducted using actual consumer networks on Facebook.The current research addresses these issues in two essays. The first essay reviews how tie strength has been defined and measured in prior research and proposes a two-dimensional conceptual framework.
|Title||:||Two Essays on Network Tie Strength and Its Microstructural Effect on Consumer Attitudes and Intentions.|