Negative Word-Of-Mouth: Self-Construal and Image Impairment Concern

Yinlong Zhang, University of Texas at San Antonio, USA
Lawrence Feick, University of Pittsburgh, USA
Vikas Mittal, Rice University, USA
Are people more likely to transmit negative word-of-mouth (WOM) to strong than weak ties? Using a social-identity perspective, we find that self-construal moderates the relationship between tie strength and WOM likelihood: consumers are more likely to spread negative WOM to strong than to weak ties only when an independent self-construal is activated. When an interdependent self-construal is activated there is no difference between strong and weak ties. Next we show that this moderating effect is more prominent when consumers’ concern for image impairment is low rather than high. Together, these results show that the process of managing one’s image affects WOM transmission likelihood.
[ to cite ]:
Yinlong Zhang, Lawrence Feick, and Vikas Mittal (2010) ,"Negative Word-Of-Mouth: Self-Construal and Image Impairment Concern", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 126-129 .