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EMAC 2021 Regional Conference

User Behavior on Social Networking Sites: Voluntary vs. Mandated Entry

Published: September 22, 2021


Ratika Gore, S P Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai; Moutusy Maity, Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow


Social networking sites; Regulatory focus; Autonomy


This research investigates user attitude and behavior across two types of social networking sites (SNSs): where user membership is either voluntary or mandated. Regulatory focus theory, self-determination theory and cognitive dissonance theory provide the theoretical underpinnings for the research. Twenty in-depth interviews were conducted with users of two similar SNSs, where the only difference was in the entry requirements (voluntary vs. mandated). Factors that affect user behavior (identified through content analysis), include: a) regulatory focus (eager/vigilant), b) autonomy (choice in entry, friends, content, agenda), and c) dissonance (name of SNSs). These insights are likely to help marketers manage brand engagement.