An Exploratory Study on the Adaptive Word-of-Mouth Communication in Seeker-initiated Context: Methods

An Exploratory Study on the Adaptive Word-of-Mouth Communication in Seeker-initiated Context: MethodsAs our major goal is to examine the interaction between the sender and the receiver, we had to collect data from both members of WOM dyad. Gilly et al. were the first ones to use dyadic WOM data, which they collected via two-step mail surveys; however, they did not inspect the dynamic process of the dyadic data, neither did they compare different perceptions between the seeker and the sender. Since a WOM message may consist of multiple content dimensions, it would be interesting to categorize the types of WOM message in terms of the seekers’ request and the senders’ strategies in a WOM episode. In accordance with the complexity of WOM interaction in this research, a dyadic in-depth interview method was used to investigate the process and interaction of WOM dyad. Namely, I collected the data from both the seeker and the sender engaged in the same WOM incident. Although, in-depth interview is more expensive and time-consuming compared to the quantitative methodologies, it is considered an appropriate methodology in this study, given the goal of obtaining dynamic and adaptive process of WOM communication. In addition, it is easier to collect paired data by using dyadic in-depth interview. Economic reforms

To conduct in-depth interview, the author followed the process of data collection suggested by Alam. Previous research provides some insight into developing the interview protocol. The interview was conducted in a free-conversation manner, and lasted about 1 hour for each person. After collecting the interview data from the seeker, the senders that the seekers introduced were asked to join our interview. Each interview was audio recorded and then transcribed. Two raters independently analyzed the motivation for the seeker and the sender. The disagreements were resolved through ongoing discussions until a consensus was reached. Overall, 33 interviewees were collected, although only 14 pairs matched. Generally, the literature suggests that the motivations for people to request WOM recommendation are highly consistent. The main reason for people to request WOM is to reduce possible risks. WOM information is considered trustworthier than any other information sources, especially when the sender is believed to have more knowledge, experience, or higher social status. The other two most popular reasons are to accelerate decision-making and to gather more information. The seeker also acquires WOM product-related information in order to evaluate its related social status. In other word, seekers need to know if the product is accepted or appreciated in the view of their friends.
Based on different motivations, WOM seekers engage in different type of request behavior. They might either heavily depend on WOM information, or they might just want to collect more information about the product, or they might simply want to initiate a topic of conversation. The seekers might also differ in the type of information they request. Some people already have a product in mind and ask for a specific product comment or consumption-related experience. However, some might want to obtain more information about a product category in the market and ask for general information to give them direction.

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