Word-of-mouth communications in marketing: a meta-analytic review of the antecedents and moderators

Abstract

Although word-of-mouth (WOM) activity has been studied as an outcome variable of other constructs such as satisfaction, less attention has been given to the antecedents and moderators of WOM when considering WOM as a central construct. Hence, we propose a model of WOM antecedents and moderators using a meta-analytic review. The results show that all antecedents have significant effects on WOM activity, with customer commitment showing the strongest effect. The following hypotheses are also supported: (1) WOM valence is a significant moderator, (2) cross-sectional studies show a stronger influence of satisfaction and loyalty on WOM activity than longitudinal studies, and (3) studies of WOM behavior show a weaker link between loyalty and WOM activity than studies of WOM intentions. In addition, we show that satisfaction has a stronger relationship with positive WOM than loyalty, whereas (dis)loyalty has a stronger relationship with negative WOM than does (dis)satisfaction. We discuss this finding based on the different natures of positive and negative WOM.

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Acknowledgments

We thank the Brazilian Funding Council for Research (CNPq and CAPES) and the Graduate School of Management (PPGA-EA-UFRGS) for their financial support. We are also thankful to the editor, David W. Stewart, and the three anonymous JAMS reviewers for their insightful comments.

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Correspondence to Celso Augusto de Matos.

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This article is based on the first author’s dissertation.

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de Matos, C.A., Rossi, C.A.V. Word-of-mouth communications in marketing: a meta-analytic review of the antecedents and moderators. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. 36, 578–596 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-008-0121-1

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Keywords

  • Word-of-mouth activity
  • Word-of-mouth valence
  • Antecedents
  • Moderators
  • Meta-analysis