The Impact of Social Media Relationships on e-WOM in Syria and Hungary
Cultural values play a crucial role in the formation of individuals’ behaviour. With the emergence of social networking sites, which have formed a parallel world to the real world, the behaviour of individuals and their motives to engage in electronic word of mouth (eWOM) on social media platforms has become extremely important for brands. Due to a relative lack in studies focusing on the cultural difference-based impact of social relationships on eWOM in social media, the present study seeks to address this gap as its broad objective is to investigate the effect of social relationship variables on eWOM in social media by comparing two different cultures, namely Syria and Hungary in order to explore whether social relationships exert a more significant impact on eWOM in a collectivistic society than in an individualistic one. An explanatory research design was adopted and the data was collected by means of a questionnaire survey. The final sample included 113 Syrian and 90 Hungarian respondents, all of them aged 35 or below. It was found that tie strength among young adults has a more positive impact on eWOM in Syria than in Hungary, while no homophily impact was found on eWOM in either. Regarding the other social relationship variables examined in the study (trust, normative and informational influences), the results showed that they do not have a more positive impact on eWOM in Syria than in Hungary. The research is believed to have contributed to previous investigations on the impact of social relationships on eWOM via social media by providing insights into the role of a cultural value dimension in determining the extent to which individuals are affected by their cultural background, whether collectivistic or individualistic, when they interact in social media platforms. At the same time, it is acknowledged that the study has limitations thus future examinations are necessary.
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