Balance and Word-of-Mouth Communication: A Signed Digraph Analysis of Consumers' Cognitive Networks
44 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2007
Date Written: January 26, 2007
This research investigates the role of balance and consistency in inter-consumer communication, i.e. word-of-mouth (WOM), through an analysis of consumers' cognitive networks or "signed digraphs" representing their WOM experiences. Following a preliminary study employing in-depth interviews, consumers' recalled and hypothetical WOM experiences were generated from a substantial online survey and examined according to social network methods. Results indicate that digraphs associated with recalled WOM experiences are more balanced than would be the case if they were generated by chance, and that this balance implicates not just disseminators' satisfaction with the experience, but also their future WOM propensities. In other words, consumers' micro-level cognitive processes affect their propensities to engage in future interpersonal, macro-level marketplace communication.
Keywords: word of mouth, social network analysis, balance theory, networks
JEL Classification: M30, M31, M39, C49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation