Utz the role-of_authenticity_in_online_reputation_management-115
General Online Research Conference GOR 11, March 14-16, 2011, Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany The role of authenticity in online reputation managementSonja Utz, Yaa Fremponmaa, Peter Kerkhof & Camiel Beukeboom VU University Amsterdam Contact: email@example.com
Online reputation management:companies react to negative reviews
Online reputation management (ORM) - what’s special?• blurring boundaries between interpersonal and mass communication• reaction on negative feedback is also read by potential new customers• computer-mediated communication – often only text-based, restricted range• Anonymity/Pseudonymity– trustworthiness?
Theoretical background• Early research on ORM: Comparison of different reactions (based on literature on service recovery, crisis communication)• Apology better than denial (Utz, Kerkhof, & Beukeboom, 2010)• Towards a more fine-grained analysis: What about subtle variations?• The role of authenticity• Offline: “Service with a smile” (Grandey, Fisk, Mattila, Jansen, & Sideman, 2005)
Hypotheses• Customer-employee rapport (personal connection)Gremler & Gwinner (2000) Style of the reaction: personal vs. corporate voice (Marwick & Boyd, 2011) Hypothesis: Personal reaction is better (= better evaluation of product and company, higher purchasing intention)• Avatar has positive effects (Taylor, 2010), „What is beautiful, is good“- heuristic Picture: none vs. unattractive vs. attractive Hypothesis : Adding a picture > no picture, attractive picture most positive
Perceived authenticity as mediatorVarious definitions in various domains• Real• Sincere• Honest• Deep acting (Goffman, 1959)• Endorsing values• Consistency between actual states/emotions and behavior (Rogers, 1961)• Exceptional authenticity => unique & customized• Being human (Marwick & Boyd, 2011) explore which dimensions are most relevant
Method• Online-experiment: negative review of a mobile phone + accommodating reaction + offer to help• 2 (style: personal voice vs. corporate voice) x 3 (picture: none, attractive, unattractive) – design• n = 124• Dependent variables: evaluation of the product (e.g. bad - good), purchase intention, evaluation of the company (trustworthy, competent,…)• Potential mediators: human voice and communicated relational commitment (Kelleher, 2009), authenticity-scale by Tomiuk & Pinsonneault, 2009)
Sample items• Human voice: invites people to conversation; is open to dialogue• Communicated relational commitment: attempts to demonstrate they are committed to maintaining the relationship• Authenticity scale (Tomiuk & Pinsonneault, 2009 ): …makes me believe that this company has a genuine concern for its customers. After visiting this site, I suspect that this company only helps people when doing so is good for business (reverse coded)
Results: Style of the reaction matters 5 4 3 2 corporate 1 personal 0 evaluation purchase evaluation product intention company No effect of picture
Role of authenticity Exploratory factor analysis, four factors – Human voice (Kelleher, 2009) – Communicated relational commitment (four of the six items by Kelleher, 2009) – Honesty – Egoistic motivation (company only wants to earn money)• Simultaneous mediation analyses (Bootstrapping, Preacher & Hayes, 2008)
Purchase intention human voice .97 .65 style .58 purchase reaction -.13 intentionIndirect effect human voice 0.63, CI 0.26 – 1.11
Evaluation of the company human voice .97 .37 communicated commitment .97 .27 style .60 evaluation reaction -.02 companyIndirect effect human voice 0.35, CI 0.15 – 0.70Indirect effect communicated commitment 0.26, CI 0.05 – 0.55
Discussion• Style of the reaction has an effect• Picture has no effect Systematic elaboration?• Human voice and communicated relational commitment mediate the effects of style => customers want dialogue and interaction with committed employee• Limitation: scenarios• Sample size: picture effects in larger sample?
Conclusion• The dialogic and relational aspects of authenticity matter use the strength of social media!