My name is Michael Haenlein and I am Associate Professor of Marketing at ESCP Europe in Paris, France.
I am currently working on a manuscript that tries to separate social contagion in new product adoption decisions into an egoistic and an altruistic component.
To better explain my idea, take the following example: Anne and Bob are friends who call each other often on the phone. Assume that about 25% of all calls between Anne and Bob are initiated by Bob while 75% are initiated by Anne. While Anne is a customer of Skype, Bob is not. However, Anne and Bob know that if they were both Skype customers, all communication between them would be free of charge. Bob can now decide to join Skype himself out of two very different reasons: First, to save money on his share of calls (the 25% of all times where he is calling Anne) or, second, to allow Anne to save money on her share of calls (the remaining 75%). I call the first reason “egoistic” (because Bob saves money for himself) and the other one “altruistic” (because Bob helps Anne to save money).
Does anyone know of some study that has already tried to separate the impact of these two effects?
Or, to put it differently, is there research that indicates the relative strength of egoistic and altruistic motives in Bob’s decision to join Skye?
I am particularly interested in situations where all calls are initiated by Anne, so where there is no financial motive for Bob to join Skype.
I am looking forward to receiving your answers.
Thanks very much for your help in advance,
Associate Professor of Marketing