The joint effect of association-based corporate posting strategy and eWOM comment valence on social media

Zifei Fay Chen, Cheng Hong, Cong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose: Consumers tend to form their perceptions about a company via two associations: corporate ability (CA) that centers on expertise in producing quality products and corporate social responsibility (CSR) that focuses on societal obligations. To date, investigations on the adoption of such association-based corporate communication strategies are yet to address the interactive and multi-source features of social media. Drawing theoretical insights from corporate associations and the warranting principle, the purpose of this paper is to fill the gap and examine the joint effect of association-based corporate posting strategy and corresponding electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) comment valence on social media. Design/methodology/approach: A three (corporate posting strategy: CSR vs CA vs hybrid (CSR + CA)) by two (eWOM comment valence: positive vs negative) between-subjects experiment (n=193) was conducted. Findings: The effect of corporate posting strategy on consumers’ CSR associations was found to be significant only when eWOM comment valence was positive. Significant main effects of both posting strategy and eWOM comment valence were found on CA associations, perceived corporate reputation, and purchase intention. Originality/value: This study extends the theoretical framework of corporate associations to the interactive context on social media and provides empirical evidence for the effectiveness of association-based posting strategies when they are jointly presented with eWOM comments at different valence levels. Findings of this study also provide implications for business and communication professionals to communicate with consumers on social media more effectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1039-1057
Number of pages19
JournalInternet Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2017


  • Corporate ability
  • Corporate associations
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Electronic word-of-mouth
  • Posting strategy
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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