Betrayed by reviewers: Positive consumer responses to unfair negative word-of-mouth

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Negative electronic word-of-mouth (NeWOM) has typically been considered to trigger solely unfavorable consumer reactions. However, we empirically show with two experiments that NeWOM that is perceived as unfair leads to positive brand attitude and increased purchase intention by observing consumers: When NeWOM is perceived to break the normative rule of honesty, feelings of unfairness arise which ultimately translate into favorable reactions towards the criticized firm. We show that marketers can increase perceptions of NeWOM unfairness by doubting the reviewer’s credibility. Furthermore, our work confirms that perceived betrayal is a major mediator between perceived NeWOM unfairness and observers’ consumption-related reactions. Overall, our work provides sound evidence that considering perceived unfairness and betrayal is a fruitful strategy for better understanding consumers’ favorable reactions to negative online reviews.
Original languageEnglish (American)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2021 EMAC Annual Conference
Place of PublicationMadrid
PublisherEuropean Marketing Academy
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventEMAC 2021 - Virtuell
Duration: 25 Mar 202128 Mar 2021


ConferenceEMAC 2021
Internet address

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