Title

Word-of-Mouth Transmission in Settings with Multiple Opinions: The Impact of Other Opinions on WOM Likelihood and Valence

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

7-2009

Abstract

Scholars in social psychology and marketing have traditionall examined word-of-mouth (WOM) interactions in a dyadic setting, comprised of a WOM-opinion provider and its recipient. Yet, social interactions also often occur in larger settings, and group-based research has shown group sizes to affect its member behavior. To this end, we set out to examine WOM transmission in a larger context by introducing a WOM responder, whose role is to provide a second opinion to the WOM recipient. In Experiment 1, we find that social relations in the triad play a key role in WOM transmission. For strong ties, the WOM responder showed little difference in willingness to offer a second opinion irrespective of its congruency with the first opinion. Incongruency with the first opinion, however, reduced the valence of the second opinion. For weak ties, the presence (vs. absence) of first opinion—irrespective of its congruency—increased the likelihood of offering a second opinion and also its valence. We demonstrate that the effects could be attributable to different accessibility of needs for assimilation and differentiation as well as of motivational orientations toward other parties of WOM. Experiment 2 takes a closer look at the conflicting motivations of social influence (normative vs. informational) associated with strong ties, and finds both in operation but to a differing degree. Finally, a follow-up study addresses the current findings in the context of satisfied/dissatisfied consumers.

Discipline

Marketing

Research Areas

Marketing

Publication

Journal of Consumer Psychology

Volume

19

Issue

3

First Page

403

Last Page

415

ISSN

1057-7408

Identifier

10.1016/j.jcps.2009.04.003

Publisher

Elsevier

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcps.2009.04.003