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Negative Versus Positive Word-of-Mouth: An Exception to the Rule


  • Gillian Naylor
  • Susan Kleiser


This research examines what drives the amount (number of people told about experience) and extremity (negative versus positive) of WOM by a consumer. Utilizing longitudinal data collected from an upscale health and fitness resort we develop two models. The first model examines factors that influence whether consumers engage in negative WOM. The results challenge conventional thinking about the relative frequency of negative and positive WOM. Our second model examines potential drivers of differences in WOM dissemination. Within our context we discover that, despite conventional thought, more individuals engaged in positive than negative WOM. Also, we find that individuals who engaged in relatively more extreme negative WOM talked to less people than those who made less extreme negative comments. We find that prestige/social approval characteristics are driving differences in the amount of WOM.