An Examination of Consumers' Selective Word-of-Mouth Communication Process and its Consequences

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2008-04-30

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Virginia Tech

Abstract

This research proposes that consumers often selectively communicate their product knowledge with one another in order to achieve different interpersonal goals or to meet situational demands; as a consequence of this selective message construction process, the communicators' recollections of the product knowledge tend to be realigned with the contents of the communicated messages. To provide empirical support for this proposition, I employed a two-step, memory-based experiment procedure and used interpersonal relationship strength as the key investigating variable to examine communicators' selective message construction behavior and its evaluative consequences. Results showed that participants communicated more negative product information to a strong relation audience and more positive information to a weak relation audience; they were also more likely to negatively interpret ambiguous information to a strong relation audience. After the communication, participants in the strong relation condition showed significantly decreased product evaluations.

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Keywords

WOM Communications, Relationship Strength

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