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What makes peer review helpfulness evaluation in online review communities? An empirical research based on persuasion effect

Yani Wang (School of Economics and Management, Beihang University, Beijing, China)
Jun Wang (School of Economics and Management, Beihang University, Beijing, China) (Key Laboratory of Complex System Analysis, Management and Decision (Beihang University), Ministry of Education, Beijing, China)
Tang Yao (School of Economics and Management, Beihang University, Beijing, China) (Key Laboratory of Complex System Analysis, Management and Decision (Beihang University), Ministry of Education, Beijing, China)
Ming Li (Department of Information Systems, School of Economics and Management, China University of Petroleum, Beijing, China)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 18 September 2020

Issue publication date: 23 October 2020

787

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the mechanism of how peer review helpfulness evaluation in online review communities is established, drawing upon the internalization and identification routes of persuasion effect.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on book reviews selected from Douban.com (a prestigious review community in China), this study used econometric models to investigate the effects of both reviews and reviewers’ characteristics on peer review helpfulness evaluation in review communities.

Findings

Review internalization is more persuasive than reviewers’ identification in peer evaluations, in terms of both short and long reviews. Reviews with extreme negative ratings tend to obtain higher level of helpfulness evaluation than those with positive or moderate ratings. The influence of reviewers’ characteristics is a significant cue in helping consumers to establish the trust perception in the context of short reviews, while its function diminishes in the context of long reviews, thus suggesting the importance of reviewers’ identification for short reviews in review communities.

Social implications

The findings will enhance current understanding of peer review review helpfulness evaluation in online review communities and help practitioners administrate community reviews intelligently, help members write better reviews and customers in their product browsing experience.

Originality/value

First, this study enriches review evaluation research in review communities by demonstrating the importance of internalization and identification lens of persuasion effect when explaining review helpfulness; second, this study helps to confirm the existing findings that reviews with extreme negative ratings are more helpful than those with moderate or positive ratings in review communities; third, this study proposes a new perspective pertaining to the relationship between reviewers’ identification and helpfulness evaluation.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The work described in this paper is supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 71871005, 71572006 and 71571191)

Citation

Wang, Y., Wang, J., Yao, T. and Li, M. (2020), "What makes peer review helpfulness evaluation in online review communities? An empirical research based on persuasion effect", Online Information Review, Vol. 44 No. 6, pp. 1267-1286. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-07-2018-0216

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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