Date of Award

12-1-2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Business Administration

First Advisor

Mykytyn, Jr., Peter

Abstract

During the last decade online retail sales have been growing constantly. This growth has been possible due to different factors like online reviews. Online reviews have been proven successful in predicting different variables like trust and sales in online settings; however, the impact of online reviews on other variables like customer satisfaction has not been widely studied. Based on expectation-disconfirmation theory, this study analyzes the effect of online reviews on customer satisfaction. A set of six hypotheses were proposed and tested by using a controlled experiment. A total of 278 usable responses were obtained from a sample of college students from a major Midwest US university. Five of the six hypotheses were supported. Results indicated that expectations and perceived performance are significant predictors of disconfirmation. They also indicate that disconfirmation is a significant predictor of satisfaction. Regarding the effect of online reviews on satisfaction, results showed an indirect effect of online reviews on satisfaction mediated by expectations and disconfirmation. Results have implications for research and practice. For research, results help to increase the understanding of customer expectations formation in online settings. For practice, results give advice to sellers about how to increase customer satisfaction.

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