Does Gender Matter? The Effect of Management Responses on Reviewing Behavior

59 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2020 Last revised: 19 Jun 2021

See all articles by Davide Proserpio

Davide Proserpio

Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California

Isamar Troncoso

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

Francesca Valsesia

University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business

Date Written: June 18, 2021

Abstract

We study the effect of management responses on the reviewing behavior of self- identified female and male reviewers. Using data from Tripadvisor, we show that after hotels begin to respond to reviews, the probability that a negative review comes from a self-identified female reviewer decreases. To explain these findings, we use a survey to show that female reviewers, when writing a negative review, are more likely to perceive management responses as a source of conflict. To understand whether these concerns are well founded, we use Tripadvisor data to provide evidence of gender bias in the way hotel managers address reviewers writing negative reviews. We show that responses to self-identified female reviewers are more likely to be contentious, i.e., confrontational, aggressive, or trying to discredit the reviewer. Finally, to confirm that gender bias directly affects reviewing behavior, we show that the probability that a negative review comes from a self-identified female reviewer is lower for hotels that write more contentious responses. While the introduction of management responses created a new channel of communication between firms and consumers, our findings show that such a channel can be misused to discriminate and can lead to unexpected consequences such as a reduction of reviews by those users more likely to be discriminated against.

Keywords: TripAdvisor, online reviews, gender bias, management responses

Suggested Citation

Proserpio, Davide and Troncoso, Isamar and Valsesia, Francesca, Does Gender Matter? The Effect of Management Responses on Reviewing Behavior (June 18, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3662840 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3662840

Davide Proserpio (Contact Author)

Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California ( email )

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles 90089
United States

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.marshall.usc.edu/Davide-Proserpio/

Isamar Troncoso

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business ( email )

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA California 90089
United States

Francesca Valsesia

University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business ( email )

Box 353200
Seattle, WA 98195-3200
United States

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