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The effect of word-of-mouth on consumer emotions and choice: findings from a service industry

Anne Martensen (Department of Marketing, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)
Lars Grønholdt (Department of Marketing, Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 19 September 2016

1504

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how received word-of-mouth (WOM) influences consumer emotions and, in turn, behavioral attitude and intention.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual model is developed by extending the theory of reasoned action framework to include WOM and emotions. The conceptual model is operationalized through a structural equation model, and the model is estimated and tested by using the partial least squares method. A survey among 509 consumers in Denmark forms the empirical basis for the study.

Findings

The paper finds that positive and negative WOM has an asymmetric influence on emotions, behavioral attitude and intention, i.e. that consumers respond differently to positive and negative WOM. The paper also finds that positive WOM has a larger impact than the social norm on behavioral attitude and intention and that negative WOM has an impact equal to that of the social norm. Furthermore, the study finds that emotions are an important mediator for both WOM and social norm.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is limited to a large travel agency in Denmark.

Practical implications

This paper has clear implications in terms of measuring the importance of WOM and emotions in consumer decision-making. It may serve as a useful basis for a practical WOM marketing strategy, which is a critical and increasingly applied element of customer-focused companies’ marketing strategies.

Originality/value

This paper provides new insights into how WOM works and the interplay between WOM, emotions and social norm in consumer decision-making.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Data collection was provided by M3 Research, Denmark. The authors thank for this financial support.

Citation

Martensen, A. and Grønholdt, L. (2016), "The effect of word-of-mouth on consumer emotions and choice: findings from a service industry", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 298-314. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJQSS-04-2016-0037

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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