How the source of word-of-mouth influences information processing in the formation of brand attitudes

Kristiina Herold*, Anssi Tarkiainen, Sanna Sundqvist

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Word-of-mouth (WOM) can be a powerful, persuasive source of information, but relatively little is understood about how consumers utilize information in service evaluations and how the source of WOM (e.g. friends, family) affects attitudes. The importance of WOM is acknowledged in the services context; however, the research field of higher education has found some inconsistent results concerning the impact of WOM. The aim of this study, with its focus on information processing, is to enhance the understanding of these varying results with data from international master's degree applicants. By means of structural equation modeling, the results suggest that the processing of WOM differs depending on the source and the difficulty of evaluation criteria. Information through some sources of WOM is mainly cognitively processed, whereas in others information is processed more as simple cues. Overall, insights are provided into the impact of WOM, and higher education marketing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-85
Number of pages22
JournalJOURNAL OF MARKETING FOR HIGHER EDUCATION
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • evaluation difficulty
  • higher education
  • information processing
  • information source
  • Word-of-mouth

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