Online complainants' skepticism towards webcare promises: A cross-cultural study

Wolfgang Jonas Weitzl, Sanchayan Sengupta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingsConference contributionpeer-review


While dissatisfied customers from around the globe increasingly turn to social media to voice public online complaints after service failures, documented research on cultural influences especially involving consumers from emerging markets remains scarce. This pioneering study shows that complainants’ recovery expectations and brand reactions are not only influenced by different types of prior webcare promises (accommodative vs. non-accommodative) but also by bystanders’ online comments (positive vs. negative interactive virtual presence; IVP). The results from a cross-cultural online experiment with participants from India and USA suggest that complainants align their reactions quite differently to IVP: Specifically, following a non-accommodative promise, individualists show more positive brand intentions after positive IVP than negative IVP. Interestingly, collectivistic complainants show the opposite reaction. IVP appears to have minor relevance following accommodative promises, which is consistent across both cultures. The findings are explained through a moderated mediation model. Thus, this research contributes to the nascent literature stream on the impact of bystanders in online complaining by investigating through the novel lens of culture by utilizing under-researched consumers.
Original languageEnglish (American)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2023 AMA Summer Academic Conference
Subtitle of host publicationA World Disrupted: Marketing’s Role in Understanding, Adapting and Transforming the Business Ecosystem
EditorsJulian Saint Clair, Alok Kumar, Lucy (Yan) Liu
Place of PublicationSan Francisco
PublisherAmerican Marketing Association
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-87757-017-2
ISBN (Print)978-0-87757-017-2
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event2023 Summer AMA Conference - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 4 Aug 20236 Aug 2023


Conference2023 Summer AMA Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco
Internet address

Cite this