Understanding the Relationship between Individualism and Word of Mouth: A Self-Enhancement Explanation



This study examines factors moderating the relationship between individualism and word-of-mouth (WOM) transmission. The conceptual model is based on the premise that high-individualism consumers are highly driven by the self-enhancement motive when they transmit WOM and that they change their willingness to provide WOM based on the perceived opportunity for self-enhancement. The results reveal that high-individualism consumers are more willing than low-individualism consumers to transmit WOM in relation to satisfactory consumption experiences (vs. unsatisfactory), when WOM is unsolicited (vs. solicited), and when the context involves high perceived social risk (vs. low perceived social risk). Thus, the findings indicate that self-enhancement may indeed be the underlying mechanism in the relationship between individualism and WOM transmission.