Customers' Perceptions of Online Review Ordering: A Fairness Perspective

Restricted (Penn State Only)
Chen, Feier
Graduate Program:
Hospitality Management
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
November 02, 2018
Committee Members:
  • Anna S. Mattila, Thesis Advisor
  • Online review
  • Review order
  • Sequence
  • Display
  • Perceived fairness
  • Inferred motive
  • hotel review
Information overload forces online platforms to try to effectively display customer reviews. Yet, research on review order and its influence on customers is scant. This study examines how the review order (recommended by the website/company, helpful votes, and date of review) influences customer perceptions and behaviors. We found that listing reviews based on the “recommended” status (vs. date of review) leads to higher levels of negative motive inferences. Moreover, ordering by helpful votes is perceived differently by customers searching for hotel rooms vs. consumer goods due to the congruity effect. Furthermore, review order has an impact on customers’ purchase intentions through the mediation of inferred motive and perceived fairness. Our findings indicate that online travel agencies might want to carefully consider how they display online reviews on their websites. Adopting “recommended” or “helpful” ordering can harm customers’ trust.