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Susan Stewart Loane

First Name: Susan
Surname: Stewart-Loane
Department Dept of Marketing and Management
Supervisor(s): Dr Steven D'Alessandro , A/Prof Cynthia Webster

Email Student

View Susan Stewart-Loane's profile

Paper Title

Talking about the unmentionable – what’s the value in that?


This study explores the role of social capital in the co-creation of value within online health communities


The concept of value is rarely considered in the context of online health communities. Prior scholarship focuses on social support, word-of-mouth marketing and, to a limited extent, social capital within online communities. Consideration of consumer value or any other value construct with online communities is rare.

Key literature/theoretical perspective

This study sits at the intersection of marketing theories of consumer value and sociological theories of social capital.


Three online communities are studied using netnographic approaches involving analysis of posts and threads, online interviews, online survey and social network analysis.

Practical and Social implications

This presentation introduces a group of people affected by Crohn’s Disease. Most people avoid discussing bowel movements and gastrointestinal disorders with friends and family. For people with Crohn’s Disease, every minute of every day is managed around the behaviour of their digestive system: meals, transport, employment, family life and social life. The opportunity to talk about the disease, learn about managing symptoms and hear about new treatments is of great value, especially with others affected by the same disease who can be a source of camaraderie and support. An online community can also be a source of social capital, leading to the generation of peer-to-peer value for participants.


Online communities, Virtual Health, Social Capital, Co-created value, Netnography