The Effect of Word-Of-Mouth on Consumer Emotions and Choice: Findings From a Service Industry

Anne Martensen, Lars Grønholdt

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The purpose of this paper is to examine how received word-of-mouth (WOM) influences consumer emotions and, in turn, behavioral attitude and intention.
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.
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.
This paper provides new insights into how WOM works and the interplay between WOM, emotions and social norm in consumer decision-making.
TidsskriftInternational Journal of Quality and Service Sciences
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)298-314
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - 2016


  • Word-of-mouth
  • Structural equation modeling
  • Emotions
  • Behavioral intention
  • Social norm
  • Behavioral attitude