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People participate in virtual communities (VCs) for knowledge sharing or social interaction. However, most studies of VCs have focused on elucidating knowledge sharing rather than predicting virtual social interactions. This study considers “quality of online discussion” an appropriate metric for assessing group-level outcomes of virtual social interactions, and thus for predicting member willingness to sustain an ongoing relationship with a virtual community (VC). This study develops a research model, grounded in Web interactivity, social identity and social bond theories, for predicting the quality of online discussion in terms of cognitive and social influences. Empirical results from an online survey of a VC verify distinct direct and indirect social influences (perceived internalization bonds and perceived identification bonds) and cognitive influences (perceived communication and perceived control). Implications for academics and practitioners are also discussed.
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