Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name



Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

First Advisor

Kenneth Chelst


This dissertation addresses the challenges involved with the process of diffusion of innovations in the contexts of innovative educational materials and technological innovations.

Chapters 2 and 3 discuss building and using Online Brand Communities (OBCs) to disseminate innovative math educational materials. OBCs are known to be important platforms where consumers can communicate with the brand as well as other consumers. Through the effective use of these platforms, brands could accelerate the process of diffusion of their innovations. However, OBCs will not survive if consumers do not get engaged and participate in these communities. The purpose of this section of the dissertation is to investigate how customer engagement can be increased in social media based Online Brand Communities (OBCs) so that these communities could be effectively used as platforms for disseminating innovations. Different hypotheses are suggested based on the consumer engagement literature and well-known organizational and psychological theories. These hypotheses are then tested in different studies in order to better understand the drivers of customer engagement behavior.

Since one of the important factors that can impact the success of OBCs is the size of the communities, chapter 3 discusses Referral Reward Programs (RRPs) as a means for growing the OBC size. In this chapter, different hypotheses are proposed based on well-known psychological theories. These hypotheses are then tested in 3 different research studies to understand the impact of different rewards on customers’ likelihood to participate in the referral programs.

The next section of this dissertation which is presented in chapter 5 uses the context of technological innovations, particularly Augmented Reality Smart Glasses (ARSGs). The purpose of this chapter is to understand the factors that would impact consumer’s decision to adopt a particular type of ARSGs: Microsoft HoloLens.

The results of the studies in this dissertation have important theoretical and managerial implications in the areas of customer engagement in OBCs, Word-of-Mouth marketing, and consumer’s adoption of innovations.