Compensatory Knowledge Signaling in Consumer Word-of-Mouth

Journal of Consumer Psychology, October 2013, Forthcoming

58 Pages Posted: 15 May 2013

See all articles by Grant M. Packard

Grant M. Packard

Wilfrid Laurier University - Lazaridis School of Business & Economics

David B. Wooten

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Date Written: May 14, 2013

Abstract

This paper extends prior research on consumer knowledge beliefs and word-of-mouth transmission. Findings from four studies suggest that people compensate for unfavorable discrepancies between their actual and ideal consumer knowledge with heightened efforts to signal knowledgeability through the content and volume of their word-of-mouth transmissions. This compensatory knowledge signaling effect is moderated by the self-concept relevance (psychological closeness) of the word-of-mouth target and lay beliefs in the self-enhancement benefits of transmitting product knowledge. Content analysis of participants’ product communications further supports our knowledge signaling account. The relationship between actual:ideal knowledge discrepancies and heightened word-of-mouth intentions is mediated by the specific negative emotion associated with actual:ideal self-discrepancies. Overall, the findings suggest that the relationship between consumer knowledge and word-of-mouth transmission depends not only on what you think you know, but also on what you wish you knew.

Keywords: consumer knowledge, word-of-mouth, self-presentation, self-enhancement, self-discrepancy, online reviews, product reviews, recommendations

JEL Classification: M3, M30, M31, D12

Suggested Citation

Packard, Grant M. and Wooten, David B., Compensatory Knowledge Signaling in Consumer Word-of-Mouth (May 14, 2013). Journal of Consumer Psychology, October 2013, Forthcoming . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2265032

Grant M. Packard (Contact Author)

Wilfrid Laurier University - Lazaridis School of Business & Economics ( email )

75 University Ave West
Waterloo, ON
Canada

David B. Wooten

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States

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