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Addressing the ghost in the machine or “Is engagement a sustainable intermediate variable between the website drivers of consumer experience and consumers’ attitudinal and behavioural outputs?”

By Anne Mollen


Background and Purpose: In response to the cost transparency of the internet which has facilitated consumer switching behaviour, marketing practitioners have used the umbrella term of engagement to describe the experiential response to mechanisms by which consumers can be enticed and co-opted into behaviour presumed to be conducive to purchase or future purchase. It is a concept that, until recently, has been largely circumvented by the marketing academic world. Therefore, the purpose of this systematic review is to generate a workable definition of consumer brand engagement online, predicated on a research model that builds on extant academic and practitioner evidence, which by virtue of its construction: 1. Shifts the locus of theoretical attention from a mechanistic/structuralist view of online consumer experience, increasingly recognized by the academic world as insufficient in its explanatory power, to more a more unitary approach that aligns behaviourist causality with ‘experiential intensity’ 2. Establishes a common discourse, thereby reconciling academic and practitioner perspectives 3. Provides the theoretical base for preliminary work on experiential metrics, and creates a platform for future research. Methodology: The review uses ‘realist synthesis’ to refine theory from a broad range of heterogeneous sources. The chapter on methodology provides a clear audit trail showing how decisions were made, evidence scrutinised and evaluated, and findings synthesised. Findings: The review provides support for the model and the definition of online consumer brand engagement, as well some steps towards operationalising the construct. The limitations of the methodology and learning points are discussed, as well as the contribution to future research and practice

Publisher: Cranfield University
Year: 2007
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

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