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Zhipeng Chen

DBA Graduate - 2017

Thesis title

The Impact of Microblog Opinion Leaders on Consumer Behavior under Negative WOM Circumstances

Supervisor(s)

Jie Yan
Purpose This study elaborates on the impact of microblog negative word-of-mouth (WOM) communication on consumer behavioral intentions (purchasing and re-dissemination) and emphatically analyzes the role of microblog opinion leaders’ social networks played in that process. Design/methodology/approach This thesis summarized the main factors on consumer behavioral intentions in a negative WOM setting by reviews and analysis, from three dimensions, i.e., word-of-mouth information, the disseminator, and receiver. After that it analyzed the internal mechanism and constructed a concept model, considering credibility and perceived risks as mediators and the microblog opinion leader’ s social network as a key moderating variable. Then based on 315 valid questionnaires, structural equation model analysis and multiple regressions were employed to test the proposed hypotheses. Findings The data shows that opinion leaders’ personal characteristics and social networks affect consumer behavioral intentions, and their expertise influences consumer credibility judgment of negative WOM, which guides consumer behavioral intentions. The moderating effects of Social Network have also been proved. Research limitations/implications This thesis enriches the content of research on the relations between the word-of-mouth and consumer decision-making and provides theoretical basis for enterprise management activities about the online marketing of opinion leaders. However, since this article focuses on the role of opinion leaders, the variable setting of other characteristics has not fully summarized all reality situation, so when dealing with the specific practical problems, the results need to be further adjusted and expanded. Practical implications This study facilitates the operation and marketing of the emerging media such as microblog, especially helping enterprises to identify the influence factors and critical channels of opinion leaders’ WOM marketing, so that they can organize effective product development by considering the variables obviously affecting customer behavioral intentions, and explore the role of opinion leaders in WOM communication to win a powerful marketing effect. Originality/value The innovation of this study is mainly manifested in:(1)based on the communication theory and marketing theory , it broadened the theoretic framework by integrating the two separate analyses of "opinion leaders - word of mouth" and "word-of-mouth - consumer behavior"; (2) it studies the effects of opinion leaders’ traits through a new sociological perspective, i.e., the Social Network perspective, which is different from professionalism or product involvement degree in previous communication theory studies; (3) it creatively discovers the moderating effects of Social Network in the communication process. Keywords: negative WOM; microblog platform; consumer behavioral intention; structural equation model.