Original Research

The effect of affective and normative commitment on helping behaviour in different online contexts

Mia Bothma
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 22, No 1 | a1190 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v22i1.1190 | © 2020 Mia Bothma | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 January 2020 | Published: 28 October 2020

About the author(s)

Mia Bothma, School of Management Sciences, Faculty of Economic and Business Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

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Background: Despite the benefits provided by online communities and online retailing, administrators and managers are faced with several challenges to successfully manage these platforms. Helping behaviours may assist to overcome these challenges; however, knowledge about this construct in different online environments is limited.

Objectives: To investigate the influence of affective and normative commitment on helping behaviour within non-commercial and commercial online environments.

Method: Data were collected through online questionnaires. The sample included residential online community members who actively participated in the community during the last 12 months (non-commercial sample) or had made an online purchase during the last 12 months (commercial sample). Non-probability sampling was used and the data analysis included descriptive statistics using SPSS and structural equation modelling using Mplus software.

Results: In both online environments, affective commitment positively influenced the helping behaviours of online community members and online customers; however, the relationship between normative commitment and helping behaviour was only significant for the non-commercial online environment. Informational support, satisfaction and subjective norm were confirmed as antecedents of affective and normative commitment for both online environments.

Conclusion: Affectively committed online community members and online retail customers are likely to perform helping behaviours and will become affectively and normatively committed when the community and online retailer provide satisfactory service to the members and customers. Online community members who are normatively committed will help fellow members to use the service of the online community; and should online community members and online customers experience subjective norm, they will become normatively committed.


affective commitment; normative commitment; online communities; online retailing; relationship marketing.


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