Since the 1960s, a large body of marketing research has documented the pervasive impact of word-of-mouth on consumer attitudes and behavior (Bansal & Voyer, 2000; Bone, 1995; Buttle, 1998; Herr et al., 1991; Laczniak, DeCarlo, & Ramaswani, 2001; Smith & Vogt, 1995; Wirtz & Chew, 2002). Word of mouth (WOM) communication is recognized as an important medium for influencing consumer behavior (Arndt, 1967). Consumers generally have greater tendency to be exposed to marketer-dominated sources, therefore, personal word of mouth source was usually the most effective (Arndt1967). Moreover former researches also find that word of mouth is particularly important for service (Murray, 1991) and also adequate to persuade a person to try a particular service provider (Frenzen & Davis, 1990; Reingen, 1987).
However, while the relevance of WOM is widely accepted, considerable research gaps exist. First, forces determining the effectiveness of WOM effects are not well understood (Wangenheim and Bayom, 2002). Although some authors have dealt with the effects of characteristics of the communicator (such as expertise or similarity; Brown and Reingen, 1987; Price et al., 1989) or the relationship between communicator (such as tie-strength; Raluca, 2012) on the strength of influence of a referral, the interaction of these two groups of factors remains widely underresearched.
Marketing research on the determinants of word-of-mouth conceptualizes word-of-mouth as a dyadic communication between a source (i.e., sender) and a recipient (i.e., receiver) (Gilly et al., 1998). This implies that the occurrence of word-of-mouth is determined by the characteristics of the recipient, by the characteristics of the source, and by their mutual relationship (Bansal & Voyer, 2000; Lau & Ng, 2001). All three of these determinants have received considerable empirical support (Bansal & Voyer, 2000; Bone, 1992; Brown & Reingen, 1987; Gilly et al., 1998; Lau & Ng, 2001; Mangold et al., 1999; Sundaram, Mitra, & Webster, 1998; Wirtz & Chew, 2002).
First, with respect to recipient characteristics, research has found that consumers with particular personality traits rely more on...