A small world experiment in the digital era: Can sWOM be used by start uppers to reach a target?

Francesca Pucciarelli, Chiara Giachino, Bernardo Bertoldi, Davide Tamagno


The rapid growth of Web 2.0 coupled with its unique capabilities has increasingly captured the attention of scholars and practitioners, and the list of benefits for companies of any age, size, and geography is continuously accrued by new evidences.
This paper contributes to the literature in the field by investigating the potential impact of social media, and especially of social Word-of-Mouth (sWOM), in boosting start-ups growth. This study applies an original approach on the topic, by replicating the Small World Experiment of Milgram. An empirical experiment of information diffusion process in the ESCP Europe community – chosen as example of a
determined and closed social network, composed by a lot of start uppers – enabled authors to demonstrate that interconnected communities can enhance the WOM effect and consequently can represent an effective tool to help people looking for opportunities, such as start uppers, to reach a specific target; in the dissemination process if super-connectors play a substantial role, and weak ties help in further diffuse the message, on the contrary monetary incentive are not important.

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Mercati e competitività - Open Access Peer Reviewed Journal
4 issues per year - ISSN 1826-7386, ISSNe 1972-4861

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