On braggarts and gossips: A selfenhancement account of word-of-mouth generation and transmission

Matteo De Angelis*, Andrea Bonezzi, Alessandro M. Peluso, Derek D. Rucker, Michele Costabile

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous research on word of mouth (WOM) has presented inconsistent evidence on whether consumers are more inclined to share positive or negative information about products and services. Some findings suggest that consumers are more inclined to engage in positive WOM, whereas others suggest that consumers are more inclined to engage in negative WOM. The present research offers a theoretical perspective that provides a means to resolve these seemingly contradictory findings. Specifically, the authors compare the generation of WOM (i.e., consumers sharing information about their own experiences) with the transmission of WOM (i.e., consumers passing on information about experiences they heard occurred to others). They suggest that a basic human motive to selfenhance leads consumers to generate positive WOM (i.e., share information about their own positive consumption experiences) but transmit negative WOM (i.e., pass on information they heard about others' negative consumption experiences). The authors present evidence for self-enhancement motives playing out in opposite ways for WOM generation versus WOM transmission across four experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-563
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Volume49
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012

Keywords

  • Self-enhancement
  • Word-of-mouth generation
  • Word-of-mouth valence
  • Word-ofmouth transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing

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