Date of Completion


Embargo Period



electronic word of mouth, opinion leadership, market maven, bandwagon cue, social networking sites

Major Advisor

David Atkin, Ph.D.

Associate Advisor

Saraswathi Bellur, Ph.D.

Associate Advisor

Kenneth Lachlan, Ph.D.

Associate Advisor

Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch Ph.D.

Field of Study

Communication Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Word-of-mouth marketing has been recognized as a significant factor influencing consumer behavior. Research has indicated that certain peer consumers – often known as opinion leaders or market mavens – can influence purchase intentions and product attitudes. Likewise, bandwagon cues, which signal to consumers that a product or brand is popular among others, have also been found to influence consumer decisions. To date, most eWOM studies, and particularly those examining bandwagon cues, have assessed messages from anonymous individuals in digital environments such as online review sites.

To address this gap in the literature, this study explored how an individual’s judgment of a peer’s opinion leadership – specifically market mavenism – influences consumer decisions by examining eWOM from known peers within an online social network. In particular, this study aims to integrate our understanding of opinion leadership, eWOM, and bandwagon cues to gain clearer insight into how consumers are influenced by brand messages shared by friends on social media.

Findings indicated messages from peers perceived to be market mavens were judged to be more credible and garnered more positive attitudes in terms of the message, as well as product and brand attitudes. These attitudes also influenced purchase intentions. However, the data did not indicate an effect for the bandwagon cue on post credibility or attitudes