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An Invisible Leverage in the Adoption of Online Social Support Community
Unformatted Document Text:  Running Head: Invisible Leverage in Adoption of Online Social Support Community 25 1979 before the Internet was popularized, Usenet has been connecting a number of people over the world through newsgroups. At least 110 active support oriented newsgroups exist in Usenet (Eastin and LaRose, 2001). Unlike newsgroups at Yahoo that allows each group to share a sense of “we-ness” by providing an introductory homepage, newsgroups at Usenet are more flexible in terms of organizational boundary. Usenet may more accurately represent the nature of cyber or online community. However, structural features of online community and the degree of “we- ness” perceived by participants may differ depending on who the managerial entity organizes an online community. The present study chose Yahoo because it is the most accessible to average Internet users. Sampling or study designs should address different structural features of online communities and different degrees of “we-ness” as a result of those features. Future Research Additional research should test the current model with longitudinal data. Adoption measures at Time 1 should be regressed on network size measures at Time 2 in order to examine direction of causality. Future research also should investigate how other network characteristics such as density, clustering, blockmodeling, and multiplexity affect OSSC adoption. Qualitative sampling methods to satisfy the “information-richness” principle will be conducive to this approach (Patton, 1987). Deviant case sampling (Patton, 1987) with outliners identified in residual analysis is proposed as the best candidates. The role of the major contributor should be examined in greater detail. The conceptualization of the major contributor is yet to be refined especially in order to differentiate between formal and informal opinion leaders, and between the “giving” and “asking” roles according to social support type. Finally, the present study focused on network size, which is a structural variable, as a mediating variable for adoption. Social support type exchanged in each OSSC as a content variable is yet to be included (See the relationship with dotted line in Figure 2) in order to better understand the invisible leverage operating in OSSC adoption. The second part of the study focusing on social support type is underway. In the near future, the researchers will report the results of the second study in which the other part of the study model is tested.

Authors: Yun, Haejin., Park, Songyi. and Kim, Hee-Jung.
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Running Head: Invisible Leverage in Adoption of Online Social Support Community
25
1979 before the Internet was popularized, Usenet has been connecting a number of people over
the world through newsgroups. At least 110 active support oriented newsgroups exist in Usenet
(Eastin and LaRose, 2001). Unlike newsgroups at Yahoo that allows each group to share a sense
of “we-ness” by providing an introductory homepage, newsgroups at Usenet are more flexible in
terms of organizational boundary. Usenet may more accurately represent the nature of cyber or
online community. However, structural features of online community and the degree of “we-
ness” perceived by participants may differ depending on who the managerial entity organizes an
online community. The present study chose Yahoo because it is the most accessible to average
Internet users. Sampling or study designs should address different structural features of online
communities and different degrees of “we-ness” as a result of those features.
Future Research
Additional research should test the current model with longitudinal data. Adoption
measures at Time 1 should be regressed on network size measures at Time 2 in order to examine
direction of causality. Future research also should investigate how other network characteristics
such as density, clustering, blockmodeling, and multiplexity affect OSSC adoption. Qualitative
sampling methods to satisfy the “information-richness” principle will be conducive to this
approach (Patton, 1987). Deviant case sampling (Patton, 1987) with outliners identified in
residual analysis is proposed as the best candidates.
The role of the major contributor should be examined in greater detail. The
conceptualization of the major contributor is yet to be refined especially in order to differentiate
between formal and informal opinion leaders, and between the “giving” and “asking” roles
according to social support type.
Finally, the present study focused on network size, which is a structural variable, as a
mediating variable for adoption. Social support type exchanged in each OSSC as a content
variable is yet to be included (See the relationship with dotted line in Figure 2) in order to better
understand the invisible leverage operating in OSSC adoption. The second part of the study
focusing on social support type is underway. In the near future, the researchers will report the
results of the second study in which the other part of the study model is tested.


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