Generation Y's Positive and Negative eWOM: Use of Social Media and Mobile Technology


Service recovery, Generation Y, eWOM, Social media, Service failure, Mobile technology


Purpose This paper aims to explore the factors that influence Generation Y's positive or negative electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) behavior via social media and mobile technology in the foodservice sector. Three types of dining experiences were examined: positive and negative customer experiences and negative customer service followed by a satisfactory recovery package. Design/methodology/approach A survey was adopted to test the factors posited to influence Generation Y consumers in these service contexts. Participants were recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk , and multi-group structural equation modeling was performed to analyze the data. Findings Active use of social media and peer influence had a sweeping influence on Generation Y's intentions to engage in eWOM about their service experiences. Technological sophistication with mobile technology influenced Generation Y to spread positive or negative service experiences, rather than satisfactory recovery experiences. Family influence had a mixed influence on Generation Y subgroups (21-24 years old vs 25-35 years old) to engage in eWOM about their satisfactory or poor service experiences. In satisfactory recovery experiences, family influence showed no significant influence on Generation Y's eWOM behaviors. Research limitations/implications This study enriches online reviews and eWOM marketing theories, adds to service failure and recovery literature and enhances understanding of consumer behavior expressed by Generation Y through the empirical investigation of Generation Y consumers' behavioral motivations to engage in eWOM through social media and mobile technology. Practical implications Engaging Generation Y consumers with social media campaigns and mobile technology development is not merely sufficient in eWOM marketing strategies. Instead, it is essential to create integrative peer communities to motivate Generation Y consumers to engage in eWOM marketing. Marketers need to pay attention to the mixed effects of family influences on the eWOM behaviors of subgroups of Generation Y in positive or negative service experiences. Originality/value Given the scarcity of consumer behavior research into Generation Y as an emerging market segment, this paper makes an incremental contribution by developing and validating a model of factors that influence Generation Y consumers' eWOM intentions through social networking and mobile technologies in three major service contexts: positive, negative and recovery following a service failure.

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International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management






Rosen College of Hospitality Management

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