Date of Award

5-1-2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Business Administration

First Advisor

Adjei, Mavis

Second Advisor

Bruner, Gordon

Abstract

Consumer online product reviews have profoundly affected consumer purchase decisions and products market performance. About 80% Internet users agree that their purchase decisions are influenced by online reviews. The features of online reviews, such as the volume, helpfulness, and valence have been found to significantly influence product sales. Despite of the marketing potential of online reviews, important gaps remain in consumer review research. First of all, there is a lack of understanding in the reward mechanism of review involvement. Research found that, although many people use online reviews to assist their purchase decisions, only 6% of consumers actually provide online reviews. Also, there is a lack of recognition of reviewers' purchase behaviors. Previous research has been focusing on the purchase behaviors of review readers. Indeed, people who provide reviews are existing consumers of the reviewed products. Past research showed that, it is easier and cheaper to keep current consumers than to explore new ones. Hence, it is relevant to investigate ways to improve reviewers' purchase behaviors. Specifically, to fill the above-mentioned gaps, this dissertation aims to answer several questions below: How do different types of rewards impact review involvement? Do causality orientations moderate the effect of rewards on review involvement? How can managers use causality orientations to improve the effect of rewards? How does reviewing a product online influence ones' own purchase behaviors? Results of two studies demonstrate that both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards improve review involvement. Further, review rewards are most effective when the rewards type matches a consumer's causality orientation. For example, intrinsic rewards works better with autonomous oriented individuals. Moreover, ones' causality orientation can be primed, and the primes interact with rewards types to improve review involvement in the same pattern as the causality orientations do. Results also show that by highly involving in reviewing a product online, reviewers' purchase behaviors are improved. However, the relationship between review involvement and reviewers' purchase behaviors is moderated by review valence. Theoretically, this research is the first known research to incorporate self-determination theory into consumer engagement/involvement literature. It is also among the first to investigate the purchase behaviors of review creators. Finally, it provides another empirical support for prime paradigm. Managerially, this research suggests ways to maximize the effectiveness of review rewards- managers can either use the right type of rewards to match with a consumer's causality orientation, or prime a consumer's causality orientation to match a given type of rewards. It also draws managers' attention on the sales potential of review creators. Managers can turn reviewers into loyal customers by rewarding their review involvement.

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