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Title: Understanding the language of word-of-mouth : a hermeneutic study of Internet-based word-of-mouth
Author: Bussière, Dave.
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol,
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2005
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Word-of-mouth is a frequently mentioned construct in marketing research. Prior research has included numerous product categories, international settings and both consumer and business environments. Unfortunately, this understanding of word-of-mouth is largely based on positivistic, quantitative research. Previous research has generally used retrospective surveys ("Think of time when you asked for advice.... "). While this positivistic research adds to the general understanding of the transactional mechanics of word-of-mouth, it ignores information that can provide valuable insight. This is further complicated by the fact that a third of all academic WOM journal articles fail to formally define the term. Through the hermeneutic analysis of 127 actual word-of-mouth conversations found on the internet, this dissertation expands the understanding of word-of-mouth. While there is general support for previous word-of-mouth findings, there is a significant extension of understanding. This research has found evidence of the impact of anger, confusion and humour on WOM conversations -- anger, impatience, humour and sarcasm. Finally, there is evidence of WOM as more than a transaction, as a social process. This is an area of research that has not been discussed in previous WOM research. Of particular note is the fact that WOM conversations include multiple participants. These participants interact. As such, the flow of information is more complex than previously understood. WOM respondents influence other advice givers as well as the original advice giver. This influence includes current and previous interactions between the WOM participants. A dynamic model of WOM is proposed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available