Modeling consumer switching behavior in social network games by exploring consumer cognitive dissonance and change experience

Yong Liu*, Hongxiu Li, Xiaoyu Xu, Vassilis Kostakos, Jukka Heikkilä

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to model the effect of alternative products in motivating consumers- e-service switching behavior in the context of the social network game (SNG) industry. In particular, the effects of both alternative attractiveness and change experience on switching behavior are quantified. Design/methodology/approach - With the aid of a leading e-service provider in China, 220,000 questionnaires were distributed to the players of a SNG. Valid responses from potential switching users are included in the data analysis. Structural equation modeling technique is utilized to test the research framework. Findings - The study found that alternative attractiveness negatively affects both the perceived service quality and individual users- satisfaction with their current SNG. Additionally, alternative attractiveness has a strong and positive impact on both switching intention and behavior. The results show that users- satisfaction and perceptions on service quality deteriorate significantly when faced with the presence of attractive SNG alternatives. The effect is stronger for the customers used to switching. Originality/value - The study is among the first to introduce cognitive dissonance theory to explain e-service switching behavior. A number of new hypotheses are proposed, tested and supported. The results of the study illustrate the use of cognitive dissonance as an alternative perspective of understanding users- switching behavior in a real-world free-choice situation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-820
Number of pages20
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • loyalty
  • satisfaction
  • cognitive dissonance
  • alternative attractiveness
  • change experience
  • switch behaviour


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