Managing negative word-of-mouth: an exploratory study

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Marketing Management, 2014, 30 (13-14), pp. 1423 - 1447
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© 2014, © 2014 Westburn Publishers Ltd. Abstract: This exploratory study investigates how executive-level and functional managers in three large organisations understand and respond to negative word-of-mouth (NWOM). The findings, based principally on analysis of 54 interviews over 3 years, show that organisations devote far more resources to the management of NWOM than they do to the promotion of positive word-of-mouth. Marketing and other customer-facing work groups play varied roles in organisational response to NWOM, which often involves complaints management and crisis management. We find that senior management, marketing, sales, advertising, PR and contact-centre staff all have different fears about NWOM and therefore respond to it in various ways. Our recommendations for better management of NWOM stress three points – leadership, organisational readiness and public relations management.
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