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How positively do they talk? : an investigation on how self-promotion motive induces consumers to give positive word-of-mouth Chung, Cindy Mann Yien

Abstract

This dissertation examines how product self-relatedness may induce positive word-of-mouth (WOM) behaviour. The main prediction was that product self-relatedness would increase the total amount of WOM, and cause consumers to exaggerate their opinions about products they liked. Three studies were conducted to test various hypotheses that related to the main prediction. A pilot study obtained initial evidence that products that reflected consumer self-concept led to more willingness to give WOM, and also more positively valenced WOM. Ownership and expectation of social evaluation on WOM opinion were found to interact with product self-relevance in influencing WOM valence. Using a new methodology, Study 1 replicated the finding in the pilot study that self-relatedness led to more WOM in total. However, WOM seemed more objective in this case, since subjects gave both more positive and more negative product evaluations when products reflected self-concept. Study 2 better established causality between self-relatedness and WOM behaviour. Subjects gave more WOM when they expected social evaluation. This study also demonstrated a positive self-presentational bias in WOM. Given that the subjects liked the product under evaluation, WOM was more positively valenced when advertising copy linked the product to the self than when it did not, or when subjects expected judgement by others than when they did not. Subjects seemed to exaggerate their preferences for the product when giving WOM in service of self-presentational goals.

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