Peer-to-Peer Service Quality and Its Consequences in Virtual Communities

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Contents

Authors

A. Valtakoski - Helsinki University of Technology, Espoo, Finland J. Peltonen - Helsinki University of Technology, Espoo, Finland M. Laine - Helsinki University of Technology, Espoo, Finland

Abstract

Virtual communities are an increasingly popular way to conduct business over the Internet. However, from the service provider’s point of view they pose special challenges. In particular, unless the provider itself engages in content or service provision, the service relies entirely on its members for provision of services. The members should thus be seen as resources for service provision. This type of networked service production system implies challenges in terms of service quality management and, subsequently, value creation for community members. This paper explores these issues by revisiting service marketing and service operations literature on service quality. Our analysis of the literature indicates that firms facilitating virtual communities need to ensure the quality of their service by not only ensuring technical quality but also by nurturing the social aspects of the community that have an impact on the willingness of community members to provide service to each other.

Keywords

Virtual community, service quality, peer-to-peer, service production system

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Peer-to-Peer Service Quality and Its Consequences in Virtual Communities

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