The Influences of Negativity and Review Quality on the Helpfulness of Online Reviews

International Conference on Information Systems, 2011

10 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2011

See all articles by Philip Fei Wu

Philip Fei Wu

University of Surrey

Hans van der Heijden

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Nikolaos Korfiatis

University of East Anglia (UEA) - Norwich Business School

Date Written: August 1, 2011

Abstract

Building on the interpersonal evaluation theory in social psychology, this study explores the existence of a negativity bias in evaluating the helpfulness of online reviews, i.e., whether users perceive a negative review to be more helpful than a positive review. An analysis of 7659 book reviews from Amazon.co.uk shows that a negativity bias disappears after controlling for moderating factors related to evaluation quality such as readability and length. The finding demonstrates that the negativity bias suggested by the social psychology literature is not readily applicable to consumer-generated online reviews. The study contributes to the theorization of word-of-mouth by exploring the qualitative characteristics of consumer-generated reviews in addition to their valence. The study also makes a theoretical contribution to information systems research by introducing and extending the interpersonal evaluation theory to online review research.

Keywords: Negativity bias, word-of-mouth, online reviews, interpersonal evaluation theory

Suggested Citation

Wu, Philip Fei and van der Heijden, Hans and Korfiatis, Nikolaos, The Influences of Negativity and Review Quality on the Helpfulness of Online Reviews (August 1, 2011). International Conference on Information Systems, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1937664

Philip Fei Wu (Contact Author)

University of Surrey ( email )

The Surrey Business School
Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH
United Kingdom

Hans Van der Heijden

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Nikolaos Korfiatis

University of East Anglia (UEA) - Norwich Business School ( email )

Norwich
NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom

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