IMCA research seminar - Rebecca Mardon, Cardiff University: "Social Media Influencers as Embedded Entrepreneurs: Role Dysfunction and Negotiation in a Consumer Collective"

Institute of Marketing and Communication Management

Date: 07.04.2022 / 12:30 - 13:30

For this IMCA seminar, Rebecca Mardon will present her research entitled "Social Media Influencers as Embedded Entrepreneurs: Role Dysfunction and Negotiation in a Consumer Collective”.

Abstract

Research has documented the emergence of embedded entrepreneurs within consumer collectives. This phenomenon is becoming increasingly prevalent as social media enables ordinary consumers to become social media influencers (SMIs), a distinct form of embedded entrepreneur. Research has considered the implications of their social embeddedness for the entrepreneur themselves, exploring the ways in which it may both facilitate and hinder their commercial activity. However, we have little insight into embedded entrepreneurs’ impact on the experiences and participation of consumer collectives’ non-entrepreneurial members, nor their potential implications for the structure and dynamics of the wider collective. To address this gap, we apply an interactionist role theory lens to a longitudinal, qualitative study of a beauty-focused consumption community on video-sharing platform YouTube, where SMIs are a widespread phenomenon. Our analysis reveals the role dysfunction created by the emergence of SMIs as embedded entrepreneurs within this community, the relational nature of the role negotiations that attempt to resolve this dysfunction, and the potential implications of these role dynamics for both non-entrepreneurial community members and for the community itself. In doing so, we extend theories of embedded entrepreneurship, as well as wider theories of consumer collectives, in multiple ways, identifying avenues for future research. 

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Rebecca Mardon is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Cardiff University. Rebecca’s research explores emerging consumer behaviours in digital contexts, in particular ownership and possession in the context of digital materiality and emerging forms of commercialisation within online consumer collectives. Her research has appeared in international peer-reviewed journals including Marketing Theory, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of Consumer Culture, and Journal of the Association for Consumer Research.