Social identity and language use in digital community development
The change in how closely individualist and collectivist subjects identified with a publisher was investigated using Social Identity Theory and Geert Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions. Social Identity Theory as proposed by Henry Tajfel provides a conceptual framework for group interaction and outlines how one group behaves in response to threats or cooperative overtures by outside groups. Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions provides a basis for how to compare and examine the differences between groups. Subjects were tested to establish their collectivist or individualist tendencies based on Hofstede’s individualism vs collectivism dimension. After subject tendencies were determined a baseline of how closely subjects identified with a a game publisher was established. Subjects then viewed a randomly assigned news release variants: Collectivistically worded or Individualistically worded. Subjects were then retested to see what if any change occurred in how closely they identified with the publisher as a result of the release they viewed. Contrary to Social Identity Theory subjects did not identify more closely with the publisher when the language used in communication matched the collectivism or individualism of the subject. Subjects did not increase significantly in their identity with the publisher when language did not match but there was directional support for some of the hypotheses.