Misreading of consumer dissatisfaction in online product reviews: Writing style as a cause for bias

Michael Antioco, Kristof Coussement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study improves our understanding of managers’ misreading of negative online reviews. Our findings are derived from a sample of 1014 written online reviews and 507 experienced marketing managers. By building on the judgment-bias literature and psychometric language-style analysis, we find several key results that can ultimately contribute to more effective information management for marketing decisions. Managers tend to better interpret negative reviews when consumers use more cognitive language markers in the form of insight and discrepancy words and more third-person pronouns (i.e., undefined social referents) in their reviews. The inverse relationship exists for the use of causality words and future tenses (i.e., behavioral intentions), as managers tend to underestimate the gravity of the situation under these conditions. Expressions of positive and negative emotions in reviews do not significantly affect managers’ readings of negative reviews. Furthermore, more experienced managers and female managers are better at identifying negative reviews, and longer consumer reviews make it more difficult for managers to correctly identify negative reviews.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-310
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Information Management
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes

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