Affective Commitment: Wanting to Stay


Identity-based affective commitment is a feeling of being part of the community and helping to facilitate submission. In contrast, bond-based affective commitment is feeling close to individual members of the group. (KrautEtal2012bso, “Building Successful Online Communities”, p. 79)

ex. Document design criteria

in three groups, find insight, tip, or example for each criteria

  1. Identity-based commitment (1-12)
  2. Bonds-based commitment (13-21)
  3. Preserving commitment (22-26)

Identity commitment

  1. Instilling identity-based attachment leads people to continue their participation in the group in the face of membership turnover.
  2. Identity-based commitment makes people more compliant with norms than does bond-based commitment.
  3. Recruiting or clustering those who are similar to each other into homogeneous groups will foster identity-based commitment to a community.

Tafjel, et al. (1971) demonstrated that randomly labeling a group with an arbitrary label (“over-estimators” or “under-estimators”) could active a common identity in research groups, even if people did not know others in their group. (KrautEtal2012bso, “Building Successful Online Communities”, p. 82)


  1. Providing a collection of individuals with a name or other indicator that they are members of a common group will increase their identity-based commitment to the community.
  2. A name and tagline that articulate the shared interests of a community’s members will increase the members’ identity-based commitment to the community.
  3. Creating named groups within a larger online community will increase members’ commitment to the subgroups.
  4. Creating named groups within a larger online community will increase members’ commitment to the community as a whole, as long as the subgroup identity is not in conflict with the larger community identity.


  1. Making community fate, goals, or purpose explicit will increase members’
  2. Providing community members interdependent tasks will increase their identity-based commitment to the community and reduce conflict among subgroups.
  3. Highlighting an out-group (and competing with it) will increase members’
  4. Emphasizing a threat to the group, especially from an external source, will increase the identity-based commitment among core members, but may undermine the commitment of more peripheral members.
  5. Making group members anonymous will foster identity-based commitment

Bonds-based commitment

  1. Recruiting participants who have existing social ties to be members of the community will increase their bonds-based commitment to the community.
  2. Facilitating interaction with “friends of friends” can enhance bonds-based commitment.
  3. Displaying photos and information about individual members and their recent activities will promote bonds-based commitment Social interaction is the primary basis for building and maintaining social bonds. The experience and familiarity we gain through social interaction with others increases our liking for them


  1. Providing opportunities for members to engage in personal conversation will increase bond-based commitment in online communities In offline environments, physical proximity causes clustering of interpersonal interactions.
  2. Places, spaces, groups, friend feeds, and other mechanisms that increase the likelihood that people will encounter the same people they have previously encountered will increase bonds-based commitment.
  3. Providing user profile pages and flexibility in personalizing them will increase self-disclosure, interpersonal liking and thus bond-based commitment.

Self-disclosure – the exchange of personally reviewing information – is both a cause and a consequence of interpersonal attraction. (KrautEtal2012bso, “Building Successful Online Communities”, p. 94)


  1. Allowing participation under a pseudonym will increase self-disclosure and interpersonal liking and thus bond-based commitment in communities where sensitive information you shared.
  2. Active self-disclosure with visible response will lead to more bonds-based commitment than will passive disclosure.
  3. Highlighting interpersonal similarity fosters closeness among individual members and bonds-based commitment.

Preserving commitment

  1. Large communities with a large volume of communication reduce bonds-based commitment, unless some means of clustering communications is used.
  2. Diversity of members’ interest in an online community can drive away members, especially those with identity-based commitment.


  1. Off-topic communication will reduce identity-based commitment, but increase bonds-based commitment to an online community.
  2. Going off-topic together can increase both bonds-based commitment and identity-based commitment.
  3. Personalized filters, which differentially expose members to communications that match their personal interests, will reduce the negative effects that off-topic communication has on identity-based commitment

Reading the Comments

The loss of commitment