Shifting Selves and Product Reviews: How the Effects of Product Reviews Vary Depending on the Self-Views and Self-Regulatory Goals of Consumers

Ohyoon Kwon and Yongjun Sung
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 17 Number 1, Fall 2012, p. 59-82.

Abstract: Although online product reviews have emerged as an influential source of information, little is known about the persuasive impact of self-regulatory goals on the processing of information in the reviews. This research examines how consumers differently evaluate consumer-generated product reviews framed by promotion goals versus prevention goals depending on their temporarily primed self-construal. The results from two experiments using a digital camera brand (Experiment 1) and a hotel brand (Experiment 2) suggest that individuals whose independent self-view is temporarily more activated rate product reviews with promotion goals as more effective than those with prevention goals. However, the reverse pattern for individuals whose interdependent self-view is temporarily primed was supported only by the results of Experiment 1. Our findings suggest that the proposed interactive effects of self-construal and self-regulatory goals can vary according to product categories. Findings of this research add to our theoretical understanding of regulatory focus and priming research. More important, this study also provides managerial insights into how marketers in the field of electronic commerce should revamp their product review platforms with an emphasis on different types of self-regulatory goals.

Key Words and Phrases: Consumer-generated product review, electronic word- of-mouth (eWOM), online product reviews, regulatory focus, self-construal goals, self- regulatory goals.