Word-of-mouth in the healthcare sector – a comprehensive literature analysis of the current state of research and future perspectives

Martin, S. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

Description

The decision to purchase a product or service is often influenced by “any positive or negative statement made by potential, actual, or former customer about a product or company“(Hennig-Thurau et al. 2004, p. 39). This concept is called word-of-mouth (WOM) and frequently allows people to gain somehow authentic and reliable information provided by other consumers who have already experienced the focused product or service. For most consumers WOM might be the only chance to get also informed about the negative aspects of a purchase. The growing importance of WOM has been proved by a variety of researchers (e.g. Lis/Neßler 2014; Siems/Gestandl 2009; Silverman 2001). Due to the growing prevalence of internet blogs or social networks WOM even gains importance as people may easily spread their recommendations or concerns to a multiplicity of potential consumers (Lis/Korchmar 2013). Several studies emphasize the importance of WOM especially in the case of complex products and services with a high level of risk involved, as they can be found for example in the health care sector (e.g. Hennig-Thurau et al. 2004). Actors in the healthcare sector have to cope with an increasing competition. It becomes crucial to adequately address the relevant stakeholders including patients, practitioners and employees. In this regard brand management and communication can be seen as essential (Schulz/Roeder/Franz 2011). WOM allows an authentic communication process with a high affinity to the target audience (e.g. Esch/Krieger/Strödter 2009; Radic/Posselt 2009). A large amount of literature can be found with respect to private enterprises using online and offline WOM. A research gap exists, when it comes to the analysis of the current state of WOM research in the health care sector. Based on a comprehensive literature review this paper shall systematically identify the existing studies of WOM in the field of health care Services. Existing studies may be classified in one of the following category: -Preconditions of WOM in the health care sector (e.g. WOM as a multidimensional construct) -Spread of WOM in the health care sector (e.g. targeted persons, used communication channels, information content) -Impact of WOM in the health care sector (e.g. impact towards the diverse stakeholders, costs of WOM, impact towards the efficiency of the public organizations) In addition the literature review shall indicate gaps for further research in this field.
Period31 Mar 2015
Event titleInternational Research Society for Public Management Conference 2015: null
Event typeConference
LocationUniversity of Birmingham, United Kingdom