Investigating the effect of value in online communities on ecotourists' satisfaction in socialisation and intentions to share knowledge via social media

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Investigating the effect of value in online communities on ecotourists' satisfaction in socialisation and intentions to share knowledge via social media

 

Author: Sarkar, Sudipta Kiran
Title: Investigating the effect of value in online communities on ecotourists' satisfaction in socialisation and intentions to share knowledge via social media
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2015
Subject: Ecotourism.
Social media -- Social aspects.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: School of Hotel and Tourism Management
Pages: xiv, 263 pages
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2823849
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/8089
Abstract: Ecotourism is a growing phenomenon in sustainable tourism. Ecotourism involves travel to nature-based areas for enjoying nature, appreciate ecology and culture and behave in an environmentally responsible manner by travellers. Travellers to ecotourism destinations are referred to as ecotourists and their prime motivations are learning and education, socialisation, as well as nature-seeking. The motivations of learning and education as well as socialisation are the ones from which emanates the need of information and knowledge through social interactions by ecotourists. However, there are certain challenges faced by ecotourists in obtaining effective and adequate ecotourism related information and knowledge that affect their satisfaction levels while they are experiencing ecotourism trips. Besides, there is a lack of effective communication channels for sharing and acquiring information as well as a lack of increased access to new technologies in ecotourism that would facilitate sharing of experiential knowledge on ecotourism activities, as well as spreading awareness on ecological aspects. Social media, which provide a two-way communication, can play a significant role in addressing these difficulties and needs of ecotourists. Previous empirical research on the contribution of social media in rendering information and knowledge sharing through socialisation via social media is deficient. Therefore, this study looked into the factor of value in online communities in affecting ecotourists satisfaction in socialisation via social media, as well as their intentions contribute more ecotourism-related knowledge via social media. The study employs the social exchange theory (SET) which helps in understanding the effect of value in online communities on social media that can enable ecotourists in experiencing satisfaction in socialisation among them and also sharing ecotourism related information and knowledge in social media. The study focused on Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, which is an emerging ecotourism destination in the urban perspective, as the setting for this study. The study uses structural equation modeling (SEM), given the distinctive analytical tools available in it that can facilitate analyzing relationships and interrelationships between constructs. The study attempts to look into extending the social exchange theory in a non-organisational context (ecotourists) of online information and knowledge sharing through social interactions in social media on the basis of the 6 SET factors. From the results of the study, it was evident that almost all the hypotheses posited were supported. Online community value was found to have a significant effect on satisfaction in socialisation which, in turn, had a significant effect on intention to share knowledge. The social exchange theory (SET) is thus supported in the context of this study. However, community identification, one of the dimensions of value in online communities, was dropped. The study concluded with contributions towards theory and practice along the lines of online community value and satisfaction in the context of ecotourists' online socialisation and knowledge sharing.

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