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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Melissa Baker

Second Advisor

Linda Shea

Third Advisor

David Piercey

Fourth Advisor

Lisa Keller

Subject Categories

Hospitality Administration and Management | Marketing | Social Media


Despite evidence of people posting their consumption experience on online social networks to fulfill the needs of social support, a systemic understanding of how social support obtained via online social networks affects post-consumption behaviors related to spending remains elusive. This dissertation aims to answer the question of how social support via online social networks affects consumer’s post-consumption behavior by investigating in what form and from whom consumers obtain online social support. To do so, the purpose of this dissertation is to examine how online social support from others influences perceptions of deservingness which then influences spending pleasure. This dissertation focuses on two types of social support sources, social support from friends and social support from the firm. In addition, this dissertation examines the role of relational factors (e.g., tie-strength with Facebook friends and relationship strength with firm) and a situational factor (e.g., social support aimed at others) that may influence the impact of social support on spending pleasure. This dissertation consists of two studies. In Study 1, a 2 (Social support; low vs. high) x 2 (Tie strength: strong vs. weak) x 2 (Self-construal: independent vs. interdependent) quasi-experimental between-subjects design is utilized, self-construal serving as a measured factor. A 2 (Social support; present vs. absent) x 2 (Relationship strength: strong vs. weak) x 2 (Social support aimed at others: present vs. absent) between-subjects factorial experiment is used for study 2. Across two studies, this research provides evidence that social support gained through online social networks influences consumers’ spending pleasure through perceptions of their own deservingness. More specifically, when people obtain social support from others on their consumption related post, they feel more deserving which then enhances their spending pleasure from that consumption. Notably, this study reveals that people obtain social support in online social networks through receiving ‘Likes’ and ‘Comments’ on their post. Furthermore, this result advances our knowledge of online social networks by demonstrating that not only the social networks friends but also firms can be social support sources by actively responding to customers’ post. In addition, this study also explores boundary conditions for when online social support is more effective on spending pleasure. The findings from two studies address the benefit to the service industry by understanding how social support can enhance spending pleasure. In addition, this dissertation may broaden the social support literature by highlighting the function of like and Comments, a new form of social support that are provided in the context of online social networks.