University of Twente Student Theses


The influence of individual cultural values, market segment and recommendation characteristics on motives for word of mouth referral

Emke, W. (2012) The influence of individual cultural values, market segment and recommendation characteristics on motives for word of mouth referral.

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Abstract:This thesis tries to provide a better understanding on the motives of word-­‐of-­‐mouth referral. Study on this topic is increasingly important, since friends, colleagues and relatives make a large amount of purchase decisions based upon word-­‐of-­‐mouth referral. This has implications for strategic marketing; strategies have to adapt to a new customer center approach in order to use word-­‐of-­‐mouth as an advantage. In addition, the rise of social media has increased information flow, which can be no longer controlled by organizations. In order to allow companies, and more specific, marketers to adjust their strategies, they need to know which consumers make recommendations and why they do so. In addition, it is interesting to know whether marketers should change their strategy for different countries, or can maintain one strategy for all. This problem definition has led to a set of research boundaries and a research question. As for the boundaries, earlier studies have focused on intercontinental differences for word-­‐of-­‐ mouth referral, but differences between Western European countries are only severely studied. This thesis studies differences between the Netherlands, the U.K. and Germany. A literature study points out some interesting variables that influence the motives for word-­‐ of-­‐mouth, such as individual cultural values. The advantage of individual cultural values theory, in comparison to national culture, is that it’s less broad and allows capturing cultures within cultures. This is beneficial for marketing research because of the variety of consumer communities within a nation. In order to further define consumer groups, different market segments are included as independent variables. Besides the individual cultural values, country differences and market segments, an individual’s recommendation characteristics are also taken into account. These characteristics define an individual in the extend to which he or she recommends online or offline, the influence he or she perceives to have and the number of recommendations he or she makes. As a result these boundaries have led to the following research question: What influence do individual cultural values, market segment, demographic and recommendation characteristics have on the motives for word-­‐of-­‐mouth referral? This research uses a questionnaire in order to study the relations as implied by the research question. A questionnaire has its limitations, such as the lack of qualitative and in-­‐depth data, but it does allow for gaining a large sample (n = 1100). By using the strata sampling method a representative sample for the U.K., Germany and the Netherlands is acquired for inhabitants between 18 and 65 years old. After the data collection and improvement, several predictive analysis were conducted in order to see which of the variables does in fact influence the motives for making a recommendation. The results show that all variables do influence the motives for making a recommendation. German and U.K. respondent differ in motives from the Dutch respondents. For example: the latter are more likely to recommend because of entertainment, were the others are more likely to recommend because of helping. Also, each market segment has other results for the motives of making a recommendation. Furthermore, the individual cultural values prove to influence the individual’s actions when it comes to making recommendations. Finally, the recommendation characteristics also influence the motives for making a recommendation. It is interesting to see that all variables have a significant influence on the dependent variable. This has implications for companies and in particular marketers; in order to improve their marketing strategy they should take these variables into account. For example: one single strategy for each country will be less effective as a different strategy for each country. This thesis point out several influential factors on the motives of making a recommendation, but is limited to quantitative data. Therefore, it suggests that future qualitative research is required in order to understand each single relation
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Blauw Research
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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