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PhD Dissertation Defense, Reza Alibakhshi, Information Systems and Operations Management

Reza Alibakhshi, PhD ISOM 2022

Congratulations to Dr Reza Alibakhshi, Information Systems and Operations Management specialization, who successfully defended his Doctoral Dissertation at HEC Paris on July 8, 2022. Dr Alibakhshi has accepted a position as Assistant Professor at IE Business School (Spain).

Specialization: Information Systems and Operations Management

Topic: Essays on User Engagement in Social Media: Understanding the Influence of Emotions

Supervisor:  Shirish C. Srivastava, Professor, HEC Paris 

Jury Members:

  • Ting LI Professor, Erasmus University, Rotterdam School of Management 
  • Frank CHAN Professor, ESSEC Business School 
  • Sunil MITHAS Professor, University of South Florida 
  • Shirish C. SRIVASTAVA Professor, HEC Paris, Supervisor 

Abstract : 

My thesis focuses on investigating the role of different aspects of emotions in influencing social media (SM) user engagement. In particular, I investigate how various emotional attributes of SM content, which are enabled by novel SM capabilities, influence user engagement with various types of content such as text, image, and video. The first essay examines the influence of dissonance between the sentiments embedded in the visual and textual content of multimodal SM posts on user engagement. In this essay, I leverage cognitive dissonance theory to propose the construct of sentiment dissonance and empirically examine its influence on user engagement with SM posts. Building on the SM post-level analysis of the first essay, the second essay investigates the SM profile-level time-varying attributes of emotions alongside their SM post-level attributes. Specifically, I examine the influence of dynamic emotional variation across SM profiles through the tenets of emotion dynamics theory and affect theory of social exchange to evaluate the influence of time-varying features of emotions in SM profiles on user engagement. By so doing, I intend to better understand the influence of dynamic and static emotional attributes in SM profiles on the magnitude and longevity of user engagement with SM posts. Extending prior essays to the novel context of SM video advertisement, the third essay leverages the time-varying attributes of emotions to examine the mechanisms through which the continuous emotional expressions in advertisement videos influence user engagement. Specifically, building on emotion dynamics and capacity theory of attention, I examine the variability and predictability of emotions in SM advertisement videos through constructs of emotional variability and emotional inertia. The findings of this study will help us better understand how the emotional attributes of videos impel users to watch and engage with the advertisement videos.

Keywords: Social media, user engagement, emotion, sentiment dissonance, emotional inertia, emotional variability.