Author(s): William C. Martin
Despite extensive research which has examined the impact of word-of-mouth (WOM) valence, results are often conflicting with regard as to whether receivers are biased toward positive or negative WOM. In this study, the impact of WOM valence on receivers’ use of actual WOM in their decision making is directly examined. Results indicate that positive WOM has a significantly greater effect on receivers’ attitude toward the focal product than does negative WOM. Receivers perceive senders of WOM concerning utilitarian products to be more trustworthy when their WOM is positive rather than negative, though no differences in the perceived altruism of senders is found. Senders of positive WOM are also viewed as having greater experience and evidence of their claims than are senders of negative WOM. Implications for marketing practitioners, in addition to directions for future research, are provided.