Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Business and Management


Electronic word of mouth (eWOM) has become increasingly popular as a source of information for decision-making regarding purchases. Nowadays, eWOM plays a significant role in the hospitality industry, especially in the restaurant sector. Customers refer to eWOM before making their dining choices. The importance of eWOM in customer’s decision making and the excellent opportunity that it provides for businesses to connect with their current and potential customers has caught the attention of business managers. Extant research into managers’ responses to eWOM predominantly investigates those of hotel managers. However, restaurant responses to eWOM have been overlooked thus far. In addition, research has focused on company responses to negative eWOM, but the communicative objectives of company responses were not examined. Moreover, company responses to positive eWOM have not yet been addressed.

To bridge theses gaps, this study aims to investigate how and why restaurant managers respond to positive and negative eWOM. Synthesising social media communication theory, the goal–plan–action (GPA) communication model, rapport management, the service recovery paradigm and relationship marketing, this study proposed a model that explains restaurant managers’ primary and secondary goals in responding to eWOM. Additionally, the model was used to explain the differences in managers’ responses to positive and negative eWOM.

This thesis is unavailable until Wednesday, July 12, 2023



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.