PurposeThis study aims to investigate if different types of negative electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) have various negative effects on the attitude of the consumer toward a product (Laptop) and whether this newfound attitude remains unaffected by the subsequent influence of positive eWOM.Design/methodology/approachA quantitative study in Germany was conducted. In the two-part experimental setting, first, a factorial repeated-measures between-subjects design was used in which the types of negative eWOM have been manipulated. The second part is characterized by a mixed between–within subjects design to test the durability of attitudinal changes.FindingsThe results demonstrate that destructive and ethical eWOM only provoke a small decline in consumer attitude compared to functional product criticism. Furthermore, the examination shows that renewed positive eWOM can improve the attitude, whereas ethical criticism is the most difficult to correct.Research limitations/implicationsThe study views negative eWOM differentiated. Researchers could adopt this approach by analyzing online communication more precisely. Ambivalent relationships between negative eWOM and their outcomes can be explained.Practical implicationsThe findings lessen the fear of permanent loss of brand reputation caused by negative reviews. The harmful effects on the attitude can be compensated through targeted marketing management actions. The study shows which content companies need to focus on.Originality/valuePrevious literature has predominantly overlooked the complex nature of negative eWOM. Therefore, the study provides first empirical results about the divergent effect of different content types of negative eWOM on consumer attitude toward a product. Additionally, the durability of consumer negativity could be measured over time.
Journal of Product & Brand Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 22, 2020
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