Framework for the National Culture and User Engagement in Social Media

Ilia Gugenishvili, Abo Akademi University

Ilia Gugenishvili is a doctoral candidate in International Marketing at Åbo Akademi University, Finland. He completed his M.Sc. degree in Tourism and Hospitality Leadership at the University of Stavanger, Norway. His doctoral thesis is about consumer behavior in social media settings. Specifically, it investigates how the national cultural configuration influences user engagement in social media and how individual, group and situation-level variables moderate the relationship. Ilia can be contacted at:


Even though social media engagement provides numerous benefits, companies’ efforts to engage users are often unsuccessful. Despite the growing interest of scholars and practitioners, studies on engagement have been predominantly exploratory in nature. Addressing this identified literature gap this conceptual article proposes a framework, which connects the national culture to social media engagement. It synthesizes the theory of culture; reception, motivation-opportunity-ability (MOA); social identity; self-concept; and social impact theory. User attitudes act as a mediator, while individual, group and motivational variables might work as cultural amplifiers or attenuators. Situational characteristics can cause a change in the relevance of the variables and/or their relationships. The model can help practitioners to advise, whether, when and how culture matters in their social media initiatives. Since effects are not specific to the context, the development of the framework contributes to the advancement of the theory on the digital marketing and role of culture, as a dynamic situated phenomenon.

Keywords: National culture; User attitudes; User engagement, Firm-generated content; Social media content; Advertising appeal