Opinion Leadership: Non-Work-Related Advice in a Work Setting
Journal of e-Commerce Research (JECR), Vol. 10, No. 4, 2009
Posted: 23 May 2013 Last revised: 27 Jun 2013
Date Written: November 1, 2008
Opinion leaders influence the decisions of others and play a significant role in disseminating information, specifically in the domain of e-commerce. Prior studies exploring the factors that affect a person's ability to influence others have been conducted in either a work setting (i.e. advice networks) or leisure setting (e.g. movie recommendation). However, it is common for these networks to interweave, for instance when a person asks for advice from work colleagues on a personal issue, like the purchase of a car. This suggests that there is a need to differentiate between the antecedents of opinion leadership that stem from one's position in the professional network and the antecedents that stem from personal characteristics associated with the specific non-work related advice (e.g. expertise in cars). To explore how opinion leadership is determined in such multifaceted settings, we develop a theoretical framework of opinion leadership. The results from an empirical study of a movie advice task that was conducted in a professional setting, demonstrate that both movie-related trustworthiness and work-related centrality exert distinct effects on one's ability to influence others opinions regarding movies. Implications for theory and practice of e-commerce are discussed.
Keywords: opinion leader, social network, competence, benevolence, network centrality
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