Sources of Commitment to Vi Rtual Gaming Communities: Perspectives of Communicaiton and Psychological Theories

Project: National Science and Technology CouncilNational Science and Technology Council Academic Grants

Project Details


Research Problem and Academic Significance: Advances of information technologies enhance the influences of virtual communities, including the impact on users’ purchase behavior in the electronic commerce area. Hence, virtual communities have been frequently examined in the areas of information systems and electronic commerce. The impact of virtual communities would require users’ strong commitment to such communities, warranting research on sources of commitment to virtual communities. The literature on virtual communities has rarely examined how game elements could assist lifting commitment to virtual communities, indicating a knowledge gap. To fill this gap, this project innovatively uses the elements of goal pursuit, relational cohesion, and escapism to gaming worlds to examine sources of commitment to virtual communities. This project also employs several classic communication and psychological theories to identify novel and important variables that could help theoretical frameworks. Academically, this project initiates to explain the formation of commitment to virtual communities, and contextualize the psychological theories to virtual gaming communities, implementing the contextualized theoretical extensions.Implications: In practice, research on this issue could clarify the impact of game elements on commitment to virtual communities, offering managers to strengthen their users’ commitment, forming strongly connected virtual communities, amplifying the impact of communities, and generating pertinent benefits in electronic commerce.Research Purpose: This project aims to examine the sources of commitment to virtual gaming communities, and the mechanisms underlying the impacts of such sources. The tri-motivation theory was used as the overarching theory, which guides this project to use three perspectives to examine such sources. The first-year study will employ perspectives of goal setting theory and goal gradient theory to examine how goal challengingness, goal attainability, and performance-approach goals impact knowledge seeking, knowledge schematization, perceived learning, progress toward goals, and thus on commitment to virtual gaming commiunities. The second-year study will employ perspectives of media synchronicity theory and relational cohesion theory to examine how elements of media synchronicity theory (transmission velocity, parallelism, symbol sets, rehearsability, and reprocessibility) impact elements of interactivity (two-way communication, active control, and perceived synchronicity), elements of relational cohesion theory (perceived power, exchange frequency, and relational cohesion), and thus commitment to virtual gaming communities. The third-year study will employ perspectives of escapism theory and flow theory to examine how game features (game familiarity, game complexity, and game fantasy) impact escapism, avatar identification, telepresence, flow, and thus commitment to virtual gaming communities.Research Design: Each study of this project will adopt a two-wave design and use a survey method to collect data. Structural equation modeling will be used for testing the research models. The questionnaires have been designed. This study has been approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB). Measurement reliability and validity will be tested using the norm in the literature.Expected Results and Jobs to be Done: This project could be expected to obtain evidence supporting the study models from empirical research. The outcomes will be submitted and hopefully accepted by the high quality international journals, laying the foundation for future scholars and guiding their research directions.

Project IDs

Project ID:PB10907-2429
External Project ID:MOST109-2410-H182-011-MY2
Effective start/end date01/08/2031/07/21


  • Online game
  • virtual community
  • commitment
  • survey
  • structural equation modeling
  • electronic commerce
  • information systems


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