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The Business of Soul-Mates A Social Network Approach to Assessing a Customer-Company Relationship: The Customer-Company Network Strength Structural Equation Model

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The Business of Soul-Mates A Social Network Approach to Assessing a Customer-Company Relationship: The Customer-Company Network Strength Structural Equation Model

Hilali, Asmaa (2013) The Business of Soul-Mates A Social Network Approach to Assessing a Customer-Company Relationship: The Customer-Company Network Strength Structural Equation Model. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis develops and tests a Measurement Model and a Structural Equation Model (SEM) to assess the strength of a customer-company network using an interdisciplinary approach. The research integrates recent principles from Social Network Theory, Service-Dominant Logic and Customer Engagement Theory. The model investigates the impact of three real companies interactions with customers. The overall customer-company relationship is viewed from an interpersonal perspective. Relationship strength is defined by social network characteristics of tie directionality, tie reciprocity norms and network’s actors’ centrality. This framework looks at how the company’s value proposition is directed towards a customer and how this perceived directionality impacts the relationship. Moreover, the model integrates the effect of reciprocal behaviour from both the customer and the company perspective. While company initiated reciprocity is viewed as directed towards both the customer and society as a whole, the customer reciprocity is assessed in terms of their expressed attitudinal loyalty and commitment to the relationship. The model also incorporates the impact of the company centrality in the customer’s private networks (e.g. friends) and of the customer perceived connection to the company’s customer group(s). From a theoretical perspective, the interactions under investigation do not take into consideration the economic exchange and satisfaction derived from service/product usage. As a result this study breaks away all together from the traditional view of marketing and relationships. Additionally, the inclusion of non-customers in this research also shows that the relationship exists prior to an economic exchange. From a methodological perspective, we develop and assess a scale to capture the customer-company network interactions before evaluating a SEM that measures the impact of all the constructs on the customer Reciprocity towards the Company. The latter is viewed as reflective of the customer-company network strength. We find that Directionality has no direct impact on the customer willingness to reciprocate while Overall Centrality, Reciprocity towards Society and Reciprocity towards the Customer significantly and directly impact the customer-company network strength. The findings will allow companies to identify the network dimensions that matter to each customer or customer group(s). Companies can then dedicate resources to enhance the interactions that matter most.

Divisions:Concordia University > John Molson School of Business > Marketing
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Hilali, Asmaa
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Business Administration (Marketing specialization)
Date:13 December 2013
Thesis Supervisor(s):Michel, Laroche and Michèle, Paulin
ID Code:978590
Deposited By: ASMAA HILALI
Deposited On:16 Jun 2014 13:07
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:47
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