Electronic Theses and Dissertations for Graduate School
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Customers' Perceptions of Online Review Ordering: A Fairness Perspective
Restricted (Penn State Only)
Master of Science
Date of Defense:
November 02, 2018
Anna S. Mattila, Thesis Advisor
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.
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