Why do people speak about products online? The role of opinion leadership

Sangmi Chai, Bomi Choi, Minkyun Kim, T. C.E. Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In an online social networking services (SNS) community, a group of users that have great influence on the other users are called opinion leaders. They have received much research attention because they are capable of influencing other people’s purchasing behaviors. In this research, we investigate various motivational factors that influence SNS users’ electronic word-of-mouth (e-WOM) intention. In addition, we examine the role of opinion leadership in e-WOM intention. By using survey methodology approach based on prior research, we collected data from 405 SNS users in the U.S. This research utilized the partial least squares technique for analysing empirical data. We find that intrinsic motivational factors embracing altruism, self-efficacy, and self-expression universally influence SNS users’ e-WOM intention regardless of opinion leadership. However, extrinsic motivational factors comprising economic rewards, reputation feedback, and social ties only influence SNS users’ e-WOM intention through opinion leadership. This research fills a gap in the literatures by establishing a comprehensive research framework including intrinsic and extinct driving forces on E-WOM intention. It emphasizes the significance of opinion leadership in the context of SNS users’ purchasing behaviour. This study constructs a research model to discern the differences in the magnitude of impact between intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors on e-WOM intention via opinion leadership. Our results confirm that both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations positively affect SNS users’ perceived opinion leadership. Our research findings imply that firms need to strengthen their efforts in fostering users’ perceived opinion leadership to utilize e-WOM in SNS community if they want to use extrinsic motivational factors to promote e-WOM behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalInformation Technology and Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Extrinsic motivation
  • Intrinsic motivation
  • Opinion leadership
  • Social networking services
  • e-WOM


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