In recent years, social media has become an important source of power for consumers, helping them put forward their opinions of the companies’ products and services and demand improvements. As contemporary consumers have been granted increasing power over brands via social media, their complaining behaviors are playing an important role in the daily business practices, which also offers new research opportunities for the study of consumer behaviors. Heeding the limited research on the underlying mechanism of consumer complaining behavioral intentions and social media empowerment, this experimental study examined the relationships between two dimensions of psychological empowerment (interactional and intrapersonal empowerment) and consumers’ complaining behavioral intentions in the social media context. At the same time, the roles of consumers’ prior trust and commitment with the brands, as well as their feeling of dissatisfaction were also investigated in this study. This study revealed two effects of psychological empowerment, including increasing consumers’ intention to perform certain complaining behaviors, as well as reinforcing the correspondence between their predisposition and behaviors. In addition, consumers’ prior trust and commitment with brands were found to serve as a buffer and mitigate consumers’ intention to take negative complaining behaviors. Both theoretical and practical implications in terms of the dynamics of power-induced dissatisfaction responses and other related factors were discussed.
University of Minnesota M.A. thesis. August 2016. Major: Mass Communication. Advisor: Jennifer Ball. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 135 pages.
Can Power Change Consumers? Investigating Consumer Empowerment through Social Media and Their Complaining Behavioral Intentions.
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