Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to determine hidden drivers of electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) by modeling attributes of self-relevant and quality-relevant values. This is a meaningful extension of previous consumer behavior research regarding the association of eWOM and self-constructs. Design/methodology/approach – An on-site survey was conducted to collect data. Statistical analyses, including structural equation modeling and multigroup analysis, were used to empirically examine which factors significantly influence café customers to engage in eWOM. Findings – The study found significant drivers of eWOM intentions by examining self-relevant values connected with the café, such as conveying reflected appraisal of self, conspicuous presentation and self-image congruity beyond the simple evaluation of service quality. The moderating effect of consumer opinion leadership on the relationships between those drivers and eWOM intentions was also investigated. Practical implications – The results demonstrated that consumers’ self-construal value was a salient diver of eWOM intentions rather than service quality value itself. However, the findings showed that these service qualities positively influenced opinion leaders’ eWOM intentions to generate information. This makes an important contribution by providing practical messages for foodservice operators to develop more effective marketing strategies. Originality/value – The present research extends our understanding of the drivers of eWOM beyond the idea that eWOM simply reflects perceived quality evaluations. The authors found that consumers can construct a self-identity and present themselves to others in the virtual world by showing “what they eat or experience”.
International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 16, 2015