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Word-of-Mouth: Influences on the Choice of Recommendation Sources

StichworteKonsumentenverhalten, Mundwerbung, Marketing, Vorkaufsphase
Fach Wirtschaftswissenschaft
Business School
KurzbeschreibungThe idea of understanding consumer behaviour as a sequential decision-making proc-ess is one that is common in marketing (Engel et al., 1993; Wilkie, 1994; Solomon, 1993; Assael, 1992; Loudon and Della Bitta, 1993; Kotler, 1997). The decision-making process it-self is presented as a logical flow of activities, working from problem recognition to purchase to post-purchase evaluation. This decision-making process is affected by a number of other more complex influences. Some of these influences relate to the wider environment in which the decision is being made while others relate to the individual who makes the decision. In this context, ".. [o]ne of the most widely accepted notions in consumer behavior is that word-of-mouth communication (hereafter WOM) plays an important role in shaping con-sumers´ attitudes and behaviors." (Brown and Reingen, 1987) More specifically, WOM com-munications between consumers are a topic of interest in both the pre-purchase and post-purchase decision-making literature. Research into the diffusion of innovations has focused on modelling the role of WOM in product adoption at various stages of the diffusion process (Mahajan et al., 1990). WOM has also been studied as a mechanism through which consumers convey both informational and normative influences in the product evaluation (Arndt, 1967; Brown and Reingen, 1987). Finally, WOM has been identified as an important post-purchase complaining option (Day, 1984; Singh, 1990). Although WOM plays an important role in consumer pre-purchase and post-purchase decision-making, research into this phenomenon has been fragmented. Importantly, relatively little attention has been directed at understanding key issues with respect to WOM recom-mendation sources and the factors that influence their use (Brown and Reingen, 1987, Duhan et al., 1997). The aim of the present work is to add to this small body of empirical research. The main part of this paper is divided into two chapters. Chapter 2, that follows an in-troduction to the work, is a theoretical one. It is a review of the literature on consumer deci-sion-making and the individual and environmental influences on it. Emphasis is being placed on WOM communication and its role in understanding consumer behaviour. Chapter 3 fo-cuses on the choice of WOM recommendation sources. Empirical research is presented which explores the influences on the choice over WOM recommendation sources. Finally, conclud-ing remarks and recommendations for further research can be found in chapter 4.
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