Culture, Conformity and Emotional Suppression in Online Reviews

Journal of the Association for Information Systems, Forthcoming

Fox School of Business Research Paper No. 16-020

39 Pages Posted: 1 May 2016 Last revised: 16 Dec 2016

See all articles by Yili Hong

Yili Hong

Arizona State University (ASU) - W.P. Carey School of Business

Ni Huang

Arizona State University (ASU) - W.P. Carey School of Business

Gordon Burtch

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management

Chunxiao Li

Arizona State University

Date Written: April 28, 2016

Abstract

This study examines the cultural background of consumers as an antecedent of online review characteristics. We theoretically propose and empirically examine the effect of cultural background, specifically individualism (versus collectivism), on the tendency of consumers to conform to prior opinion and the emotionality of the review text. We also examine how conformity and emotionality relate to review helpfulness. Our hypotheses are tested using a unique dataset that combines online restaurant reviews from TripAdvisor with measures of individualism – collectivism values. Our econometric analyses reveal that consumers from a collectivist culture are less likely to deviate from the average prior rating and to express emotion in their reviews. Moreover, those reviews that exhibit high conformity and intense emotions are perceived to be less helpful. We also present several important implications for the management of online review platforms in light of these findings, which reflect the previously unidentified drivers of systematic differences in the characteristics of online reviews.

Keywords: culture, online reviews, individualism value, rating deviation, review emotion

Suggested Citation

Hong, Yili and Huang, Ni and Burtch, Gordon and Li, Chunxiao, Culture, Conformity and Emotional Suppression in Online Reviews (April 28, 2016). Journal of the Association for Information Systems, Forthcoming; Fox School of Business Research Paper No. 16-020. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2772268

Yili Hong (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - W.P. Carey School of Business ( email )

Tempe, AZ 85287-3706
United States

HOME PAGE: http://yilihong.github.io/

Ni Huang

Arizona State University (ASU) - W.P. Carey School of Business ( email )

Tempe, AZ 85287-3706
United States

Gordon Burtch

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management ( email )

19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Chunxiao Li

Arizona State University ( email )

350 E Lemon Street, Department of Computer and Inf
Building BA 319 M
Tempe, AZ 85281
United States

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