University of Sussex
AM2012_0160_paper.pdf (286.19 kB)

Opinion-leading silver surfers in the UK: a personality-based approach to managing negative electronic WOM

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posted on 2023-06-09, 02:58 authored by Jan Breitsohl, Marv Khammash, Gareth Griffiths
The purpose of this study is to investigate the diffusion of negative opinions over the Internet in relation to specific personality antecedents (i.e. Altruism, Need for uniqueness, Self-confidence) and communication outcomes (i.e. Overall satisfaction, E-complaint-propensity). Based on an online survey consisting of 2,393 e-consumers aged 50+, the present research methodology uses Structural Equation Modelling to verify the proposed conceptual relationships. Findings confirm the positive influence of online opinion-leaders on the propensity to spread negative e-WOM and demonstrate the importance of personality characteristics as means to influence negative online opinion-diffusion. Importantly, negative e-WOM was further found to reduce consumers' overall satisfaction and to possibly occur in addition to direct e-complaining. This research therefore is the first to empirically establish the concept of negative Opinion-leadership in an online context and in relation to e-consumers above 50, in addition to proposing a novel, personality-based model of negative online opinion diffusion. For marketing practitioners, this study emphasises the importance of negative online opinion-leaders as a target group that requires distinct communication strategies. Marketing and complaint mangers are recommended to appeal to specific personality traits in order to prevent negative online opinion-cascades and possibly encourage direct complaints.


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Published version

Presentation Type

  • other

Event name

Academy of Marketing Conference 2012. Marketing: catching the technology wave

Event location

Southampton, UK

Event type


Event date

2–5 July 2012

Department affiliated with

  • Business and Management Publications

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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