The valence of electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) and choice of online opinion platform: What role do motivations to engage in positive and negative WOM play in consumers’ platform choice

Mira Radoslavova Todorova

Student thesis: Master thesis


Nowadays, more and more consumers are employing the online opinion platforms to shareand exchange product experiences with others. Both positive and negative electronic wordof-mouth (eWOM) concerning countless number of products and services has become easilyaccessible to the global community, thus turning this informal communication medium into apreferred source of marketplace information. With eWOM gaining increasing popularityamong consumers, it is crucial for marketers to learn how to use and harness its power.Having certain predictability of where consumers are more likely to post their positive ornegative product reviews and the most influential motives lying behind their choice of onlineopinion platform will undoubtedly help marketers to control and even benefit from eWOM.Given the great number of online venues (e.g. product review websites, personal blogs,brand’s forums, social networking sites, etc.) that offer space for consumer thoughts, it isinteresting to investigate how the users choose the eWOM platform, depending on thepositive or negative nature of the feedback they want to communicate, which motivationsplay a role in the decision making process and what platform characteristics are taken intoaccount. By integrating the traditional motives to engage in positive and negative eWOMwith some distinctive features of a marketer-controlled vs. non-marketer controlled onlineopinion platforms, the current study aims to shed light into the intricacy of consumer onlinecommunication behaviour.Using an online sample of 134 consumers, the research findings confirmed that the natureof the product feedback has a significant impact on the type of website the consumerchooses as communication medium. The participants were more likely to share positiveproduct reviews on the independent online opinion platform, while for expressing negativeproduct feedback they preferred the brand’s website. ‘Helping the company’ emerged as thedominant motivation behind the decision to engage in positive eWOM on a third-partyopinion platform, while ‘anxiety reduction’ was found to influence negative eWOM behaviouron a company’s website. The study findings contribute to our understanding of consumers’communication behaviour in the electronic medium and provide managers with anadvantage in effectively and successfully dealing with consumers’ eWOM.

EducationsCand.merc.smc Strategic Market Creation, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages71