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Title: How do online review platforms affect individuals' consumption behavior? : an informational social influence perspective
Other Titles: Zai xian dian ping ping tai ru he ying xiang ren men de xiao fei xing wei? : yi ge xin xi xing she hui ying xiang de guan dian
在線點評平台如何影響人們的消費行為? : 一個信息性社會影響的觀點
Authors: Zhang, Zikun (張子坤)
Department: Department of Information Systems
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: City University of Hong Kong
Subjects: Consumer behavior.
Computer network resources.
Notes: CityU Call Number: HF5415.32 .Z48 2010
vi, 119 leaves : ill. 30 cm.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--City University of Hong Kong, 2010.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 101-119)
Type: thesis
Abstract: In recent years, online review platforms have become a basis for many consumers to make informed decisions. These platforms contain online reviews on movies, books, restaurants, flights, or hotels based on the personal experiences of different people. Contrary to word-of-mouth in the offline context, online reviews are generally characterized by a bulk of messages from contributors with different levels of credibility. The distinctive properties of online review platforms result in the increasing concerns of marketers regarding how to understand their impacts. However, research on online review platforms is still at the early stage. Recent studies have examined the relationship between the volume of online reviews and the sale of relevant products. At the individual level, it is still unclear how online reviews affect consumer behavior. Empirical studies are needed to bring worthwhile insights regarding this matter. This dissertation attempts to fill this gap and shed light on the relationship between online review platforms and the decision-making processes of consumers. This research particularly focuses on an online review platform in China,, which has developed into one of the largest online restaurant review platforms in the country. To address the influences of online review platforms to individual consumption behavior, this dissertation builds a research model based on three theoretical perspectives: theory of planned behavior, heuristic-systematic model, and social network perspective. An online survey was conducted to test the research model. A total of 285 valid responses were collected on Partial least squares method was used to assess the research model through the two-step procedure of measurement model and structural model. Results showed that almost all hypotheses were supported: 1) two systematic variables and two heuristically variables had significant impacts on behavioral attitude; 2) the bias effects of perceived quantity of reviews and source credibility to argument strength were supported; 3) two social network variables were found to be important antecedents of source credibility; and 4) behavioral attitude, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control had positive impacts on behavioral intention, which in turn, affected actual consumption behavior. Finally, this study discusses the theoretical implications for research on online review platforms and individual behavior, informational social influence, and social network technology. It also provides practical implications for both designers of online review platforms and managers of firms. The dissertation discusses some limitations of this research, and proposes areas for further research. Finally, a summary of the findings and a concise conclusion are provided.
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