Effects of Social and Temporal Distance on Consumers’ Responses to Peer Recommendations

Journal of Marketing Research, Forthcoming

40 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2010  

Min Zhao

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Jinhong Xie

University of Florida - Warrington College of Business Administration

Date Written: August 29, 2010

Abstract

This paper examines the interplay of social and temporal distance on consumers’ responses to others’ recommendations. Drawing on research on psychological distance and the “fit” literature, the authors hypothesize that others’ recommendation is more persuasive when the construal levels associated with both social distance and temporal distance are congruent. Specifically, the authors first demonstrate a time-contingent effect of recommendation, i.e., others’ recommendations lead to a greater preference shift when people make decisions for distant-future consumption than for near-future consumption (Studies 1 and 2). Second, contrary to conventional wisdom, the authors find that close others do not always have greater impact than distant others. Instead, recommendations from close others are more influential in shifting near-future preferences than those from distant others, whereas recommendations from distant others are more influential than those from close others in shifting distant-future preferences (Study 3). As the underlying mechanism, the authors demonstrate that others’ recommendation is perceived to be more relevant when there is a match between the social and temporal distance. Research and managerial implications are discussed.

Keywords: preference over time, construal level, recommendation, WOM, consumer reviews

Suggested Citation

Zhao, Min and Xie, Jinhong, Effects of Social and Temporal Distance on Consumers’ Responses to Peer Recommendations (August 29, 2010). Journal of Marketing Research, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1668196

Min Zhao (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6
Canada

Jinhong Xie

University of Florida - Warrington College of Business Administration ( email )

209 Bryan Hall Campus Box 117155
Gainesville, FL 32611-7166
United States
352-392-0161 Ext. 1233 (Phone)
352-846-0457 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://bear.cba.ufl.edu/xie/Xie_DirectoryProfile.htm

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