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Article
Publication date: 13 December 2018

Jacob Hornik, Rinat Shaanan Satchi and Matti Rachamim

Recent research on word-of-mouth (WOM) has presented consistent evidence on the importance of secondary WOM (sWOM) on online user-generated content (UGC) and on diffusion…

Abstract

Purpose

Recent research on word-of-mouth (WOM) has presented consistent evidence on the importance of secondary WOM (sWOM) on online user-generated content (UGC) and on diffusion of positive and negative commercial information. The purpose of this paper is to investigate what motivates consumers to spread, via electronic WOM communication, negative information about commercial entities adversity using malicious verbal narratives. Based on concepts related to the joy of pain (schadenfreude) and gloating behavior the authors propose a set of hypotheses designed to test two key moderators (perceived deservingness and entity’s status) as well as the process of spiteful dissemination like content assimilation, dissemination time and duration.

Design/methodology/approach

The research consists on a series of four studies using different research methods (surveys and experiments) and a mix of quantitative and qualitative analyses.

Findings

Results show that actively communicating about others’ adversity (i.e. gloating behavior) provides an outlet to the passive observation of others’ adversity (i.e. schadenfreude feelings). Results indicate that schadenfreude and gloating are linked to the perceived deservingness of a commercial entity and entity status (the tall poppy syndrome). Results also show that malicious feelings and gloating behavior cause consumers to disseminate information more widely, more rapidly, for a longer period and frequently distort its content.

Research limitations/implications

The findings contribute to literature on WOM by introducing an approach that highlights the potential negative effects of WOM on the dissemination of commercial information that might harm the relevant commercial entity’s reputation and goodwill.

Originality/value

This study illuminates the prevalence of negative rhetoric in WOM and supports the theory schadenfreude motives as a trigger for gloating behavior in the form of disseminating negative, malicious and intense WOM regarding commercial setbacks. This research is the first to examine and demonstrates that when it comes to WOM communication, schadenfreude feelings and gloating behavior might play a central role in the dissemination of negative information and the two constructs’ role in understanding infostorms, the sudden flow of large quantities of negative WOM using strong gleeful exultation. This study is the first to examine these phenomena in the business setting.

Details

Internet Research, vol. 29 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1066-2243

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Article
Publication date: 6 August 2018

Ruoyun Lin

The purpose of this paper is to explore the prevalence of benign and malicious envy on social media, and to examine the relationships between shared content (experiential…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the prevalence of benign and malicious envy on social media, and to examine the relationships between shared content (experiential vs material purchases), envy type (benign vs malicious), and purchase intention (toward the same vs a superior object).

Design/methodology/approach

Three studies (N=622) were conducted to ask participants to recall the last time they experienced envy due to browsing social media, report an envy-triggering post about either an experiential or a material purchase shared by others and read a post about a friend’s newly bought MacBook in either an experiential or a material phrasing. The degrees of benign and malicious envy were measured, as well as the future purchase intentions toward the same and a superior object.

Findings

The results showed that most of the envious emotions were actually benign envy. Although there was no main effect of purchase type on envy type, both experiential purchases and phrasings were less likely to be perceived as showing off, and therefore triggered less malicious envy. Furthermore, benign envy was positively associated with the purchase intention of the same envied purchase, and malicious envy was positively associated with the purchase intention of something even superior.

Originality/value

As browsing other’s social news sometimes evokes envy, people were concerned about the negative effects of envy on consumers. However, this paper addressed the positive effects of envy which comes along with a motivation of moving up. This positive motivation can also be utilized for social media advertising.

Details

Internet Research, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1066-2243

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Article
Publication date: 22 March 2021

Zhongpeng Cao

From the perspective of customer segmentation, most scholars show more interest in the very important person (VIP) customer’s service experience and satisfaction; however…

Abstract

Purpose

From the perspective of customer segmentation, most scholars show more interest in the very important person (VIP) customer’s service experience and satisfaction; however, the way in which ordinary customers view VIP services has received less attention. Based on fairness heuristic theory and social comparison theory, this study aims to examine the impact of the social visibility of VIP services on ordinary customers’ satisfaction and explored the underlying mechanisms and boundary conditions of this effect.

Design/methodology/approach

Two experiments were conducted, Study 1 verified the main effect and mediating effect, Study 2 tested the moderating effect.

Findings

The results show that the social visibility of VIP services decreases ordinary customers’ satisfaction and perceived fairness mediates this effect. The deservingness of VIP status moderates the connection between social visibility and perceived fairness.

Research limitations/implications

This research changes the objects of VIP services research and focuses on ordinary customers as its main group and expands the scope of social comparisons among customers.

Practical implications

The findings expand the scope and perspective of research on VIP services and provide guidance to service providers to reduce ordinary customers’ feelings of unfairness so as to improve customer satisfaction.

Originality/value

This study explores the effect of the social visibility of VIP services on ordinary customer satisfaction from the perspective of perceived fairness, as well as the underlying mechanism and boundary conditions of the effect.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

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Article
Publication date: 7 May 2020

Ismail Karabas, Marissa Orlowski and Sarah Lefebvre

Tipping within the foodservice industry has traditionally been reserved for full-service restaurants. However, there is a growing trend of tip requests at limited-service…

Abstract

Purpose

Tipping within the foodservice industry has traditionally been reserved for full-service restaurants. However, there is a growing trend of tip requests at limited-service restaurants, where tipping occurs prior to consuming the product. This research aims to examine the effect of a point-of-sale tip request at limited-service restaurants on return intentions via customer irritation. It also aims to analyze the moderating effects of check amount and perceived deservingness.

Design/methodology/approach

Four online scenario-based experiments were conducted to test the hypotheses. Participants were recruited from MTurk for all experiments (NStudy 1 = 152; NStudy 2 = 296; NStudy 3 = 206; NStudy 4 = 134).

Findings

Studies 1 and 2 suggested a negative impact of presenting a tip request on return intentions, with customer irritation as the underlying mechanism. Study 3 found the indirect effect was significant only when the check amount was low. Study 4 found that perceived deservingness of a tip also moderated this effect; the indirect effect was significant only when customers felt the employee did not deserve a tip. The effect was attenuated when customers felt the employee deserved a tip.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the underexplored area of tipping behavior in the limited-service context. The findings contrast extant research on voluntary tipping at full-service restaurants, thus advancing theory by suggesting the consequences of tip requests are contextual and providing practical insights to limited-service establishments contemplating whether to begin requesting tips.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 32 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

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Article
Publication date: 9 January 2017

Nadine L. Ludwig, Donald C. Barnes and Matthias Gouthier

Deciding on the appropriate level of service is one of the paramount decisions a firm must make. Making this decision more complicated is the debate regarding the…

Abstract

Purpose

Deciding on the appropriate level of service is one of the paramount decisions a firm must make. Making this decision more complicated is the debate regarding the viability of aiming for the highest level of service or customer delight. One avenue of research missing from the literature is the impact of providing delight to one customer while in the presence of others. In response the purpose of this paper is to evaluate the emotional and cognitive reactions of the observing customer.

Design/methodology/approach

Structural equation modeling was utilized to evaluate a sample of 272 respondents. Additional moderation analysis was conducted on the impact of perceived deservingness.

Findings

Findings indicate that the observing customer experiences the dual effects of joy and jealousy which both impact perceptions of unfairness and subsequent behaviors of complaining and repurchase. The perceived deservingness of the customer experiencing the delight is shown to reduce the impact of jealousy on unfairness.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitations include cross-sectional data and the fact that the data were retrospective.

Practical implications

This research suggests that firms should embrace the positive contagion that occurs between the delighted customer and observer while attempting to minimize the impact of jealousy.

Originality/value

This is the first research to quantitatively evaluate the impact of a customer viewing another customer receiving delight.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

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Article
Publication date: 15 May 2017

Lan Xia and Kent B. Monroe

This paper aims to examine the effect of targeted promotions on perceptions of fairness from the perspective of consumers who are not targeted.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the effect of targeted promotions on perceptions of fairness from the perspective of consumers who are not targeted.

Design/methodology/approach

A scenario-based approach is used. Three studies manipulating promotion selectivity and various bases for promotion selection were conducted. A total of 403 people participated in the studies.

Findings

Results showed that these consumers consider targeted promotions unfair, and the primary reason is centered more on damage to relational identity than the economics of reduced perceived value. The effect is moderated by how the targeted promotion is delivered (buyer-discovered vs seller-delivered) and different basis for selection.

Practical implications

As companies adopting the practice of dynamic pricing such as targeted promotion, it is important to manage relationship with their consumers. Framing targeted promotions that reduce the salience of seller’s role and provide explanations that not attributed to buyer-seller relationship are important in reducing the potential damage of targeted promotion on relational identity.

Originality/value

Existing research on perceptions of price fairness has focused on the role of perceived value. This research tested the relative effect of perceived value, relational identity and personal identity in the context of targeted promotion and identified relational identity as the major mechanism.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 26 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

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Article
Publication date: 22 February 2021

Tijs Laenen and Dimitri Gugushvili

In the social policy literature, it is often assumed that universal policies are more popular than selective ones among the public, because they supposedly generate…

Abstract

Purpose

In the social policy literature, it is often assumed that universal policies are more popular than selective ones among the public, because they supposedly generate broader self-interested coalitions and are considered morally superior. The present article revisits and challenges this assumption.

Design/methodology/approach

The article critically reviews the existing empirical literature on public support for universal and means-tested welfare schemes.

Findings

The main conclusion is that the popularity of universal vis-à-vis selective welfare remains very much an open question. First, the studies that are typically cited to support the claim that universalism is indeed more popular are inconclusive because they conflate the institutional design of welfare programs with their respective target groups. Second, there is considerable variation in public support for universal and selective welfare across countries, time and policy domains.

Research limitations/implications

The findings suggest that future research should focus on scrutinizing under which circumstances – when, where and why – universal social policies are more popular than selective ones.

Originality/value

The article makes an original case for considering perceived welfare deservingness of social policies' target groups alongside the policy design when studying popular support for differently targeted welfare schemes.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 11 June 2018

Dimitri Gugushvili

The purpose of this paper is to explore public attitudes towards poor people in the South Caucasian countries.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore public attitudes towards poor people in the South Caucasian countries.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on an analysis of data from the tenth round of the Caucasus Barometer survey, one of the most reliable sources of public opinion data in the region.

Findings

The majority of the population in Azerbaijan and Georgia would consent to paying higher taxes or reducing public services if their governments used the extra resources to provide cash assistance to more poor people, but in Armenia the level of solidarity is considerably lower. However, the majority in each of the countries supports assistance being conditional on beneficiaries actively searching for work. In contrast to conventional wisdom, some better-off groups are more in favour of supporting the poor than those who face a higher risk of poverty. The author hypothesises that this may be driven by self-interest, as in relative terms the welfare sacrifices required for financing the extension of schemes might be higher for the vulnerable than for the better-off.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to provide a comparative analysis of public attitudes towards vulnerable groups in the South Caucasus. It also contributes to the scarce literature on perceived welfare deservingness of social assistance recipients and public preferences for imposing conditionality on them. In addition, it presents a strong case for using more comprehensive questions to construct measurements of people’s welfare attitudes than those commonly used.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 38 no. 5-6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Book part
Publication date: 9 December 2020

Michael L. Roberts and Theresa L. Roberts

This chapter examines how public attitudes and judgments about tax fairness reflect distributive justice rules about proportionality/contributions, needs, and equality;…

Abstract

This chapter examines how public attitudes and judgments about tax fairness reflect distributive justice rules about proportionality/contributions, needs, and equality; fairness issues that influence voluntary tax compliance (Hofmann, Hoelzl, & Kirchler, 2008; Spicer & Lundstedt, 1976). Most public polls and some prior research indicate the general public considers progressive income tax rates as fairer than flat tax rates, a reflection of the Needs rule of distributive justice theory; our 1,138 participants respond similarly. However, two-thirds of our politically representative sample of the American public actually assign “fair shares” of income taxes consistently with fairness-as-proportionality above an exempt amount of income, consistent with the Contributions rule of Equity Theory. We argue experimental assignments of fair shares of income taxes can best be understood as a combination of the Needs rule, applied by exempting incomes below the poverty line from income taxation (via current standard deductions) and taxing incomes above this exempt amount at a single tax rate (i.e., a flat-rate tax) consistent with the Proportionality/Contributions rule. Viewed in combination, these two distributive justice rules explain the tax fairness judgments of 89% of our sample and indicate surprising general agreement about what constitutes a fair share of income taxes that should be paid by US citizens from the 5th percentile to the 95th percentile of the income distribution. The joint application of these fairness rules indicates how seemingly competing, partisan distributive justice concerns can inform our understanding of social attitudes about tax fairness across income classes.

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Article
Publication date: 5 June 2020

Dimitri Gugushvili and Wim van Oorschot

Whether welfare provision should be broad-based or selectively targeted at the poor is one of the most common themes in social policy discourse. However, empirical…

Abstract

Purpose

Whether welfare provision should be broad-based or selectively targeted at the poor is one of the most common themes in social policy discourse. However, empirical evidence concerning people's preferences about these distributive justice principles is very limited. The current paper aims to bridge this gap, by analyzing Europeans' opinions about a hypothetical transformation of the welfare state that would provide social transfers and services only to people on low incomes.

Design/methodology/approach

The analysis draws on data from the 2016 European Social Survey and covers 21 countries. In order to understand what would motivate people to support the complete means testing of welfare provision, we use multilevel models with individual-level and contextual predictors.

Findings

The results show that the upper and middle classes are the most opposed to the idea, presumably as they would be the net losers from such a reform. Furthermore, our results indicate that more-egalitarian people show a higher level of support for means testing, even though the political left has traditionally promoted universalism. Some key characteristics of the welfare state also matter: People are more likely to endorse complete means testing in countries with less-generous provision and a higher incidence of poverty. However, the extent to which the existing welfare state relies on means testing has no influence on people's opinions about implementing a fully means-tested welfare model.

Practical implications

Some of the key findings are likely to be of interest to activists advocating on behalf of the poor and the socially vulnerable. Although it is generally assumed that universal provision is the best strategy to address the needs of disadvantaged people, our results suggest that from an electoral point of view, targeting within universalism may be a more appealing welfare strategy.

Originality/value

This paper details one of the very few studies to examine preferences for means-tested welfare provision in a comparative context. In addition, one of the contextual variables used in the analysis – the proportion of means-tested social benefits out of the total expenditure on social benefits – is unique to this study.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 40 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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