Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine how information load, consumers’ regulatory focus, and prior attitudes interact to influence consumers’ response to firm crisis in the context of online discussion forum. By doing this, this study presents the solving strategy for unintended criticism in online space. Design/methodology/approach – Based on selective exposure and regulatory focus theory, the author proposes that consumers’ regulatory focus and prior attitudes toward a focal firm influence the relationship between information load and selective exposure phenomenon. The data for this study are obtained from an experimental research design. Data were collected from 165 college students who have an experience with an online discussion forum. Findings – The author finds that selective exposure is likely to occur when information load is high (vs low). More importantly, this selective exposure is influenced by regulatory focus. Prevention-focussed consumers with favorable (vs unfavorable) prior attitudes toward the target firm tend to evaluate it less favorably, whereas promotion-focussed consumers with unfavorable (vs favorable) prior attitudes are likely to evaluate it more favorably when information load is high. Originality/value – Evidence is found that consumers’ regulatory focus moderates the effect of information quantity on confirmatory information search, and induces different response strategies to firm crisis information.
Internet Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 2, 2015