Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration-Marketing

Committee Director

Yuping Liu-Thompkins

Committee Member

Leona Tam

Committee Member

Edward Markowski


Three studies investigate how consumers respond to mixed reviews under personal and social influences. The first study looks at how individual self-construal influences the way consumers process mixed reviews from professional critics vs. regular consumers. The study finds consumers with an independent (interdependent) self construal to have less favorable attitude and to be less likely to purchase the product when the negative review comes from professional critics (consumers). Study 2 explores how consumption social context determines the way consumers respond to mixed reviews and how consumer knowledge moderates this behavior. For public consumption, the study finds that both attitude and purchase intention are affected equally by mixed reviews regardless of the source of such reviews, and consumers utilize other cues such as well-known actors to guarantee collective satisfaction. However, consumer knowledge is found to moderate consumer reactions under private consumption such that highly knowledgeable consumers prefer to process intrinsic information such as mixed reviews regardless of the source, while novice consumers prefer less complicated information and side themselves with other consumers' opinions. Finally, Study 3 looks beyond the informational role of product reviews and introduces them as a social tool for managing one's impression on others. It finds that when consuming with strong connections such as friends, consumers have less favorable attitude and are less likely to purchase a product when negative reviews come from other consumers than when negative reviews come from professional critics. In contrast, consumers in the presence of weak connections such as work acquaintances rely not only on what other consumers say but also on what professional critics say. The results from these studies shed new light on what product reviews can do and how consumers use product reviews under different contexts in everyday life.


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