The Role of Electronic Word of Mouth in Shaping Consumer Attitudes

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Title: The Role of Electronic Word of Mouth in Shaping Consumer Attitudes
Author: Koomanova, Gulsana
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Sosiaalitieteiden laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Research
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för socialvetenskaper
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2012
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Media and Communication Studies
Medier och kommunikation
Abstract: The purpose of this research was to investigate the role of electronic word of mouth (eWOM) in shaping consumer attitudes towards various products and services with concentration on the consumer attitude change. eWOM has long been proven to play an important role in influencing consumer attitudes and has been researched from a variety of perspectives. This study attempts to look deeper into the process of consumer attitude change by applying as the central theory of the study the Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion by Petty and Cacioppo. In the processes of examining the background academic and empirical research the Internet and Web 2.0 are closely depicted in order to understand how throughout the past centuries technology allowed the rise of various mediums where consumers can not only share their opinions online about products and services but also communicate with other consumers. Manuel Castel’s Internet Galaxy, Gildin’s, Carl and Noland’s, Hennig-Thurau, Gwinner, Walsh and Gremler’s researches on eWOM are the central works that helped to shape both the theoretical and empirical parts of this study. The mixed method approach was chosen as a research method for this study. An online survey was conducted via the platform and eight qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted. The results of the study show that central route queues as text quality and text argumentativeness are more prominent among the research subjects and the peripheral route queues: source credibility and source expertise did not show considerable significance. Also more experience and participation consumers have with user-rating websites and applications more inclined they are to elaborate on the central route cues and are more likely to search for opinions that they consider rational and credible. Also these respondents are less inclined to search for ratings that confirm their existing beliefs about products or services. Less experience/participation they have about eWOM more likely they are to search for reviews confirmatory to their own.
Subject: electronic-word-of-mouth
elaboration likelihood model of persuasion

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