The influence of word-of-mouth on attitudinal ambivalence during the higher education decision-making process

Jenni Sipilä*, Kristiina Herold, Anssi Tarkiainen, Sanna Sundqvist

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study investigates the influence of word-of-mouth (WOM) on consumers’ attitudinal ambivalence in the context of higher education decision-making. Construal level theory (CLT) is combined with attitudinal ambivalence literature to generate hypotheses about how different types of WOM (i.e., praise and activity) received during the decision-making process reduce attitudinal ambivalence. The subsequent consequences of attitudinal ambivalence for decision-making are also studied. A two-wave survey of applicants to international higher education programs is used to test the hypotheses. This study contributes to the ambivalence literature by showing that different types of WOM information reduce attitudinal ambivalence depending on the temporal closeness of a choice and the consumption of a service. The findings have implications for the management of attitudinal ambivalence and WOM throughout the consumer decision-making process and consequently for assisting consumers in making choices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-187
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Business Research
Volume80
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Ambivalence
  • Attitude
  • Choice
  • Consumer
  • Decision-making process
  • Word-of-mouth

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