Stimulating Referral Behavior May Backfire: the Effect of Referral Failure on Susceptibility to Persuasion

The effects of WOM on the receiver of the information conveyed have extensively been researched. It remains open, however, whether referral outcome has an effect on the sender. Four studies reveal that consumers’ openness to advice is lower when their own advice was not followed. Differences in the activation of the self as a result of the ego threat that referral failure comprises, moderate these results. We also establish that referral failure is what drives these effects, not referral success. Our results suggest that stimulating WOM behavior may backfire when recommendations are ignored by their intended receivers.


Bart Claus, Kelly Geyskens, Kobe Millet, and Siegfried Dewitte (2010) ,"Stimulating Referral Behavior May Backfire: the Effect of Referral Failure on Susceptibility to Persuasion", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 513-514 .


Bart Claus, K.U. Leuven, Belgium
Kelly Geyskens, University of Maastricht, the Netherlands
Kobe Millet, K.U. Leuven, Belgium; Free University Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Siegfried Dewitte, K.U. Leuven, Belgium


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37 | 2010

Share Proceeding

Featured papers

See More


Charity Donors’ Response to Cause-Related Marketing: The Role of Attachment Styles

Sondes Zouaghi, Thema-Cergy University
Aïda Mimouni Chaabane, Thema-Cergy University

Read More


Communicating Limited Financial Resources Increases Perceived Trustworthiness and Interpersonal Connection

Grant E. Donnelly, Harvard Business School, USA
Anne Wilson, Harvard Business School, USA
Ashley V. Whillans, Harvard Business School, USA
Michael Norton, Harvard Business School, USA

Read More


R1. How Consumers Deal With Brand Failure-An Individual Differences Approach

Melika Kordrostami, California State University-San Bernardino
Elika Kordrostami, Rowan University

Read More

Engage with Us

Becoming an Association for Consumer Research member is simple. Membership in ACR is relatively inexpensive, but brings significant benefits to its members.