Electronic Word-of-Mouth (eWOM): Examining the Relationship Between Factors Influencing eWOM Activities and Passengers' Purchasing Involvement in the Context of Aviation
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The purpose of the study was manifold: (a) to examine the relationship a set of targeted factors has on electronic Word-of-Mouth (eWOM) activities in the context of aviation, (b) to examine the extent to which these factors affect airline passengers’ purchasing involvement, and (c) to determine the extent to which eWOM activities mediate the relationship between the targeted factors and purchasing involvement. Research factors included (a) purchasing perceptions, which consisted of satisfaction, loyalty, perceived value, and service quality; (b) social environment, which consisted of age, gender, and cultural differences relative to Hofstede’s (1980) cultural dimensions; and (c) experiences, which consisted of frequent flyer status and Internet use frequency. A convenience sample was solicited from graduate students (master’s and doctoral) studying at colleges/universities in northern and central Florida. The sample size used to test the study’s hypotheses consisted of 345 participants. A hierarchical regression analysis indicated that loyalty and the Masculinity–Femininity cultural dimension were strong predictors of eWOM activities, while loyalty, perceived value, age, the Uncertainty Avoidance cultural dimension, and eWOM activities were strong predictors of purchasing involvement. The findings also showed that eWOM activities fully mediated the relationship between loyalty and purchasing involvement, and partially mediated the relationship between purchasing involvement and the cultural dimensions of Power Distance and Masculinity–Femininity, respectively. Findings suggest that improving passengers’ loyalty via eWOM activities can help inform their purchasing decisions in the digital era. Moreover, eWOM activities can help passengers who live in high power distance and masculine cultures to easily make a purchasing decision relative to products and services of U.S. airlines. Thus, eWOM activities should be used as a promotional instrument to help inform passengers’ purchasing decisions.