Social Desirability in Virtual Communities

International Journal of Business Administration, 3 (6), 93-100

8 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2012 Last revised: 12 Nov 2012

See all articles by Francesco Massara

Francesco Massara

IULM University

Fabio Ancarani

SDA Bocconi

Michele Costabile

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Francesco Ricotta


Date Written: november 9, 2012


As virtual worlds and social media in general become important settings for marketing actions, we need to know what is the weight of social norms within such contexts. To what degree can a researcher expect that the answers obtained within a virtual world – ultimately a social network – reflect real opinions and are not inflated by social desirability? Does the social context of an online community induce higher social desirability? This paper investigates whether social desirability is stronger within virtual world online communities than in the real world, observing same structural relationship among measured constructs but higher social desirability tendency in the virtual world compared to the real life. Since social networks and online communities will be more often used as research and communication platforms, increased attention needs to be paid to the social desirability tendency of the community members.

Keywords: Social desirability, social networks, online communities, virtual worlds

Suggested Citation

Massara, Francesco and Ancarani, Fabio and Costabile, Michele and Ricotta, Francesco, Social Desirability in Virtual Communities (november 9, 2012). International Journal of Business Administration, 3 (6), 93-100, Available at SSRN: or

Francesco Massara (Contact Author)

IULM University ( email )

Via Carlo Bo, 1
Milano, MI 20143
039-2-891412746 (Phone)
039-2-891412770 (Fax)


Fabio Ancarani

SDA Bocconi ( email )

Via Bocconi 8
Milan, Milan 20136

Michele Costabile

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Francesco Ricotta

Independent ( email )

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