Continuance intention to use the mobile
interest-based community: An integrated
theoretical model and empirical study
School of Information Management, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
):52-68, Received: May, 25, 2015
Revised: Jun. 26, 2015
Accepted: Jul. 6, 2015
This work is jointly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No.: 71303178)
and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (Grant No.: 2015M572202).
J.M. HU (firstname.lastname@example.org, corresponding author) designed the study and wrote the manuscript,
including the research methods and experiment process. J. YU (email@example.com)
collected data, revised the manuscript and helped with the data analysis and discussion of the
Purpose: This paper aims at an understanding of factors that influence the continuance
intention to use mobile interest-based community applications, with a focus on the impacts of
technology acceptance model (TAM) constructs and experiential value.
Design/methodology/approach: Taking a hybrid model combining TAM and extended
expectation confirmation model (ECM) as foundation, this study integrated experiential value
into the research model. A survey method was adopted and the sample was constituted by 347
Chinese undergraduates who were experienced users of mobile interest-based community
applications. Structural equation modeling was used to test the research model.
Findings: Our findings suggest that 1) key determinants of user satisfaction with mobile
interest-based community applications are confirmation, perceived usefulness (PU), perceived
ease of use (PEU) and experiential value. Both satisfaction and PU are directly correlated with
continuance intention; 2) PU’s impact on satisfaction and continuance intention has been
confirmed again in this study. Although PEU has no direct impact on satisfaction and
continuance intention, it may indirectly affect them via PU; 3) all the perceived experiential
values (aesthetics, playfulness, service excellence and return on investment) have a positive
influence on satisfaction.
Research limitations: We did not examine the effects of individual user differences that may
also be important for understanding satisfaction and continuance intention.
Practical implications: The study findings can help service providers improve the use of
mobile interest-based community applications.
Originality/value: Our study contributes to a more systematic understanding of factors that
influence continuous use of mobile interest-based community applications.
A mobile interest-based community is defined as an online community, accessible
to mobile devices such as smart phones and tablet personal computers, which
engages users with similiar interests in real-time online group activities
. In China,
as the number of people using smart phones and other mobile devices continues
to increase, many online community service providers such as Renren.com and
some new companies such as Feiliu.com have begun to provide mobile interestbased
community applications to attract consumers
. When these companies have
increased their investment in promoting their service amid fierce market competition,
they realized that they should pay attention to fostering active users, those who are
willing to continue to use the mobile applications after they have adopted the
systems. As such, understanding users’ continuance intention is crucial in helping
mobile community service providers to increase customer viscosity.
There is not much research into factors that influence mobile users’ intention to
use online community applications continuously. Most studies, carried out based
on expectation confirmation model (ECM)
, introduced new constructs such as
perceived playfulness and perceived cost[4,5,6]
. However, these studies, which focused
on the effect of usefulness of information systems on continuance intention, ignored
the impact of user experience. In order to have a better understanding of the
influencing factors of continuance intention to use mobile interest-based community
applications, we established our research model based on technology acceptance
and ECM. Our research questions are listed as follows:
• Do both perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use affect satisfaction and
• What is the impact of experiential value on satisfaction and continuance
As college students constitute the major user group of mobile Internet
, we carried out an empirical study of Chinese college students to
verify the effectiveness of the proposed research model.
2 Theoretical background and hypotheses
2.1 Expectation confirmation model
Expectation confirmation theory (ECT)[9,10]
is a cognitive theory which aims to
explain post-purchase or post-adoption satisfaction. Bhattacherjee
ECT to examine the continued usage of information systems. He put forward the
extended expectation confirmation model (ECM), which posits that user satisfaction
affects their intention to continue to use information systems through prior
information system use and perceived usefulness. According to the ECM, satisfaction
and perceived usefulness are two important factors affecting continuance intention;
satisfaction is affected by perceived usefulness and confirmation; perceived
usefulness is influenced by confirmation. Since the ECM was proposed, it has been
applied in various studies on topics such as mobile searching, online learning and
the use of blogs[11,12,13,14,15]
. These studies have demonstrated the validity of the ECM in
predicting a user’s continuance behavior.
In our study, satisfaction refers to the extent to which a person is pleased or
contented with mobile interest-based community applications after having used
these technologies. Deng et al.
and Zhou & Li
found that satisfaction has a
positive impact on user loyalty to information services. In the context of this study,
users are more likely to continue to use mobile community applications when they
are satisfied with the use of the applications. Thus, the following hypothesis is
H1: Satisfaction has a positive effect on continuance intention to use mobile interest-based
User perceptions will be different between expectations of mobile interest-based
community applications and experiences of the actual performance of these
applications. Their confirmation with the use of these applications indicates their
satisfaction with the use of the information systems. Thus:
H2: Confirmation has a positive effect on satisfaction with mobile interest-based community
2.2 Incorporating TAM into ECM
Technology acceptance model (TAM) is an influential and widely applied model to
explain the acceptance of information systems. It puts forward two main factors for
determining the technology adoption level: 1) perceived usefulness and 2) perceived
ease of use. Perceived usefulness is defined as “the degree to which a person believes
that using a particular system would enhance his or her job performance” and
perceived ease of use is defined as “the degree to which a person believes that using
a particular system would be free of effort”
integrated TAM with ECM to have a better understanding of
users’ continuance intentions. Hong et al.
demonstrated that TAM is suitable for
study of both users’ initial adoption behavior and their continued information
technology usage intention.
In this study, perceived usefulness refers to the degree to which a person believes
that using the mobile interest-based community applications would enhance his or
her job performance. Perceived ease of use is defined as the degree to which a
person believes that the mobile interest-based community applications are easy to
use and not much effort is required. A lot of studies[3,5,20,21]
have found that perceived
usefulness and perceived ease of use can have a positive impact on user satisfaction.
In the context of this study, users will be satisfied with the mobile interest-based
applications if they find these applications both useful and easy to use. Thus, we
state the following hypotheses:
H3: Perceived usefulness has a positive effect on satisfaction with mobile interest-based
H4: Perceived ease of use has a positive effect on satisfaction with mobile interest-based
Research based on extended ECM posits that confirmation of expectations has a
positive effect on perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use [22,23,24,25]
. In the context
of this study, users are likely to perceive the usefulness and ease of use of the mobile
community applications if they find the actual performance of the applications
consistent with or even better than their expectations. Thus, the following hypotheses
H5: Confirmation has a positive effect on perceived usefulness of mobile interest-based
H6: Confirmation has a positive effect on perceived ease of use of mobile interest-based
Recent mobile information system studies[18,25,26]
indicate that perceived usefulness
and perceived ease of use positively affect users’ initial and continuance intention,
and perceived ease of use positively influences perceived usefulness. In this study,
users who perceive the easiness to use mobile community applications or learn to
use a new version of the technologies are likely to continue to use the mobile
applications. In the meanwhile, they probably will have a positive intention to
continue their usage based on the perception of the usefulness of the mobile
applications in meeting their interests and needs more efficiently. Therefore, we
state the following hypotheses:
H7: Perceived ease of use has a positive effect on perceived usefulness of mobile interest-based
H8: Perceived usefulness has a positive effect on continuance intention to use mobile interestbased
H9: Perceived ease of use has a positive effect on continuance intention to use mobile interestbased
2.3 Incorporating experiential value into ECM
Johnson et al.
summarized two different perspectives of customer satisfaction
in the literature: 1) transaction specific and 2) cumulative aspects. The former is
concerned with a customer’s evaluation of his or her experience with a particular
product transaction or service process and the latter focuses on the customer’s
overall experience with a product or service with the passage of time. Some
noted that customers can obtain experiential value from their
experiences of using a particular product or service. Mathwick et al.
that experiential value perceptions are based on “interactions involving either direct
usage or distanced appreciation of goods and services”.
There are relatively few studies that have investigated experiential value and its
effect on user satisfaction and intention to continue using a Web-based information
system or service. Tang & Chiang’s study
is one of them. They incorporated
experiential value into the ECM and studied its impact on a person’s satisfaction
and intention to continue to use a blog system. But they did not investigate the
impacts of different aspects of experiential value on satisfaction and continuance
Mathwick et al.[28,29]
devised an experiential value scale (EVS) for measuring
four sub-dimensions of customer experiential value: 1) aesthetics, 2) playfulness, 3)
service excellence, and 4) return on investment. In the Internet and catalog shopping
context, their predictive model indicated that the EVS can be used to assess the
preferences of multi-channel retail systems from these four dimensions. Keng &
’s study on blog acceptance demonstrated that a positive correlation exists
between user attitude toward reading blogs and their experiential value in aesthetics,
playfulness, and service excellence. Verhagen et al.
confirmed that experiential
value is a strong and direct determinant of user satisfaction with a virtual world.
We adopted Mathwick et al.’s EVS in measuring the four dimensions of
experiential value. In our study, an aesthetic response refers to a reaction to the
salient visual elements of the mobile interest-based community applications, such
as the design and physical attractiveness of user interface; playfulness is the
perception that the use of mobile applications is funny and pleasant. They are
sources of intrinsic value as they offer instant pleasure, irrespective of the
achievement of tasks
. It is possible that users are satisfied with the mobile
community applications when they can perceive the aesthetics and playfulness of
Furthermore, in our study service excellence reflects users’ appreciation of the
functions of mobile community applications. Return on investment (ROI) refers to
users’ perception of investment of cognitive, behavioral or financial resources that
potentially yield a return. They are sources of extrinsic value[32,33]
. Specifically, users
tend to be satisfied with mobile community applications because of favorable,
dependable and high-quality services, such as perfect functions, quick reaction,
instant updating of contents, desirable customized settings, etc. In using mobile
interest-based applications, users spend time, effort, and even money, and they also
estimate investment returns. Their confirmation will increase their satisfaction with
In short, four hypotheses relating to experiential value and customer satisfaction
were put forward as follows.
H10a: Perceived aesthetics has a positive effect on satisfaction with mobile interest-based
H10b: Perceived playfulness has a positive effect on satisfaction with mobile interest-based
H10c: Perceived service excellence has a positive effect on satisfaction with mobile interestbased
H10d: Perceived return on investment has a positive effect on satisfaction with mobile interestbased
Based on above literature review and hypotheses, we designed our research
model which is illustrated in Fig. 1.
Proposed theoretical model and research hypotheses.
3.1 Instrument development and pilot test
All measurement items were adapted from prior studies although some terms were
changed to fit the specific research context
, as shown in Table 1.
Measurement of the variables
The questionnaire contains two parts. The first part includes items to measure the
constructs in the research model, while the second part collects the respondents’
demographic data, including gender, age, etc. In the first part, each item corresponding
to the constructs was measured using a five-point Likert scale, with answer choices
ranging from “strongly disagree” (1) to “strongly agree” (5).
After the questionnaire was drafted, it was first sent to 3 experts and 2 doctoral
students who major in management of information systems for checking the content
and then 30 experienced users of mobile interest-based community applications
were invited to do a pilot testing. According to their comments and suggestions, we
revised some items to make the questionnaire more precise and understandable.
3.2 Data collection
We collected data by conducting a Web-based survey on www.sojump.com. The
survey lasted from April 15 to May 18, 2015. A total of 405 questionnaires from
Chinese undergraduates were recovered, of which 347 valid ones remained after 58
invalid responses were discarded, yielding a response rate of 85.68%. Table 2 shows
the demographic data of the respondents.
Demographic profile of all respondents
A two-step procedure was adopted for data analysis
. We first examined the
measurement model to ensure convergent and discriminant validity, and then the
structural model to investigate the strength and direction of the relationships among
the constructs. The data was analyzed using the partial least squares (PLS) approach,
and significance of estimated path coefficients was tested using bootstrapping.
4.1 Reliability and validity
We conducted a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to examine the convergent
validity and discriminant validity. Convergent validity measures whether items can
effectively reflect their corresponding factor, whereas discriminant validity measures
whether two factors are statistically different. The Cronbach’s α scores in Table 3
indicates that each construct exhibits strong internal reliability, and all the standard
factor loading values in CFA of the measurement model exceed 0.5, and are
significant at p#&60;0.001. In addition, the composite reliabilities (CR) of constructs
range from 0.883 to 0.934, and the average variance extracted (AVE) is between
0.655 and 0.792. All these indicators demonstrate reliability and convergent
of our measurement model.
Construct reliability and convergent validity
Discriminant validity assesses the extent to which a concept and its indicators
differ from another concept and its indicators. Specifically, the correlations between
any two constructs should be lower than the square root of its AVE. As shown in
Table 4, each diagonal value (the square root of AVE) exceeds the inter-construct
correlation, and thus the measurement model has strong discriminant validity which
satisfies Fornell & Larcker’s criteria
The square root of AVE and correlation coefficients between constructs
Note: Diagonal elements are the square root of AVE.
4.2 Hypotheses test
As depicted in Fig. 2, the results supported all hypotheses in the research model
except H4 and H9.
Results of hypotheses tests.
The results of this study provide support for our research model and the hypotheses
regarding the directional relationships among the model’s variables. The overall
e xplanatory power has an R 2 of 70.2% for continuance intention, R2 of 73.9% for
satisfaction and R2 of 49.5% for perceived usefulness. Most of the time, the value
of R2 above 30% indicates strong explanatory power of the proposed model
Because perceived ease of use is not a critical determinant of satisfaction or
continuance intention, it has a low R2 value.
5.1 Relationships between antecedent constructs and continuance intention
The results show that satisfaction is the stronger predictor of continuance intention,
followed by perceived usefulness as a weaker predictor. The linkage between
satisfaction and continuance intention has been validated in user behavior research
over a wide range of mobile products and service contexts[25,43]
. In this study, it was
revalidated in the context of mobile interest-based community applications.
It is noted that perceived ease of use does not have a positive effect on continuance
intention and satisfaction. There are probably two reasons. First, users, as young
and high-level educated people who frequently use mobile products, have already
obtained some experience in using mobile information systems, even competent of
using mobile systems as time goes on. Thus for experienced users, perceived ease
of use is not as important as it is for inexperienced users with regard to continuance
intention and satisfaction
. Second, the decrease of complexity and difficulty in
using mobile applications may make perceived ease of use no longer an important
factor affecting continuance intention and satisfaction
5.2 Relationships between antecedent constructs
In our study, confirmation was identified to have the most significant effect on
satisfaction. In addition, it is a significant determinant of perceived ease of use and
perceived usefulness. Meanwhile, confirmation may influence continuance intention
in two indirect ways: 1) by influencing users’ satisfaction toward mobile community
applications and 2) by affecting their perception of usefulness.
The impact of perceived usefulness on satisfaction and continuance intention was
confirmed again in this study. Perceived ease of use is a significant predictor of
perceived usefulness. Although it has no direct impact on satisfaction or continuance
intention, it may indirectly affect them via perceived usefulness.
Meanwhile, all the perceived experiential values (aesthetics, playfulness, service
excellence, and return on investment) have a significant and positive impact on
satisfaction. This result is consistent with other similar studies
. Users’ perceived
return of investment is the most important perceived experiential value to explain
their satisfaction with mobile community applications, followed by perceived
service excellence, perceived aesthetics and perceived playfulness.
According to the results, mobile community service designers and providers may
optimize their mobile applications to b etter f acilitate use, as well as communication
and interaction among users. The results imply a necessity to pay close attention
to how users’ psychological perceptions (confirmation, ease of use, usefulness,
and experiential value) are shaped in order to promote the continuous use of
the mobile applications. In the meanwhile, an emphasis needs to be placed on
improving the mobile applications in terms of contents, navigation, functions, and
We have investigated the factors that influence users’ intention to continue to use
mobile interest-based community applications. Based on a hybrid model integrating
TAM and extended ECM as theoretical foundation, our study contributes to a more
systematic understanding of user continuance intention to use mobile community
applications. Our empirical study answered the two research questions. For the first
question, we found perceived usefulness has a direct impact on user satisfaction and
continuance intention, but perceived ease of use does not. For the second question,
we found all the perceived experiential values (aesthetics, playfulness, service
excellence and return on investment) have a significant and positive influence on
However, there are limitations related to our study. We did not investigate external
factors such as individual differences that may also be important for understanding
continuance intention. For example, Lee’s study
found that subjective norm and
concentration are the positive factors which affect users’ continuance intention.
Future studies may consider investigating the potential moderating effects of these
factors and employ a larger sample for greater generalizability of the findings.
In addition, we found that the proposed model in this study includes several
highly correlated variables (i.e., SAT-CI, PA-PP, PP-PSE), which indicates that there
might have been inaccurate measures and missing pathways of causality in our
model. Thus, we need to conduct a follow-up analysis on the direct and indirect
relationships among these constructs.
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