This study investigates how institution-based trust affects community members’ commitments toward their online communities. Drawing on trust and regulatory focus theory, our research model explains that institution-based trust (situational normality and structural assurance) influences members’ community commitments and that members’ regulatory foci (promotion- and prevention-focus) moderate the impacts of institution-based trust on community commitments. To test our research model, we surveyed 303 members of online communities. We find that structural assurance (not situational normality) positively affects members’ community commitments. We also find that members’ promotion-focused motivations moderate the relationship between situational normality and community commitments. This study suggests a theoretical framework to augment existing relationships of trust, motivation, and commitment research, emphasizing the role of institution-based trust provided by the community itself. This study also explains that online communities can sustain their competitive advantages with the community membership base by facilitating impersonal structures and functionalities of the community.
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- Community commitments
- Institution-based trust
- Online communities
- Regulatory focus