Encouraging individual goal pursuit through social influence is a growing trend. While friendships can be both an asset but also a burden, the impact friends have on goal attainment is not well established in the literature. We explore the influence that friend quantity and quality have on individual task-oriented goal-directed behavior using a unique set of online gaming data with a sample of about 33,000 individuals. Our results indicate a nonlinear relationship that suggests the number as well as the intimacy level of friendships positively impact individual goal achievement, but too much social friending becomes detrimental to individual goal pursuit. Females benefit slightly more from friendship amount and intimacy level, but also suffer more from too many exchanges with friends. Similarly, novice individuals not only benefit more from social influence than more experienced individuals in terms of goal pursuit, but also hurt more from friending behaviors. Our follow-up surveys with actual gamers provide additional evidence that friends indeed proffer information and emotional support that can promote goal attainment. However, too much friending can hurt goal completion due to information overload and time demands. These findings have important implications for consumers and managers regarding how social others influence individual goal attainment.
Phang, Chee Wei; Cheng, Zhang; Luo, Xueming; Keech, Jessica; and Andrews, Michelle Andrews, "FRIENDING AND GOAL ATTAINMENT: AN EMPIRICAL STUDY IN VIRTUAL WORLD" (2014). PACIS 2014 Proceedings. 43.