Rating with Confidence: How Rating Scales Affect Future WOM Behavior

42 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2013

See all articles by Yu-Jen Chen

Yu-Jen Chen

Lingnan University

David Godes

University of Maryland

Date Written: September 17, 2013


Firms collecting product ratings are able to choose the scale design (e.g., 2-pt vs. 5-pt scales) for consumers to provide rating scores. While previous research on survey methodology has studied the impact of scale design on measurement reliability and validity, there has been little work documenting the potential impact of this choice following the rating event. The present research argues that the rating scale may affect a rater's likelihood of engaging in subsequent word-of-mouth (WOM) behavior. Specifically, conducting four experiments, we show that participants' WOM intentions are higher after evaluating their consumption experience on a 5-point rating scale than on a 2-point rating scale. We introduce a new construct – “rating certainty” – which reflects a rater's certainty belief regarding her chosen rating score and which mediates the relationship between rating scale and WOM intentions.

Keywords: word-of-mouth, product ratings, scale design

Suggested Citation

Chen, Yu-Jen and Godes, David, Rating with Confidence: How Rating Scales Affect Future WOM Behavior (September 17, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2326985 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2326985

Yu-Jen Chen (Contact Author)

Lingnan University ( email )

7 Castle Peak Road
SEK 101/1, Tuen Mun
Hong Kong, Hong Kong 999077
Hong Kong

David Godes

University of Maryland ( email )

College Park
College Park, MD 20742
United States

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