Electronic word-of-mouth for university selection: Implications for academic leaders and recruitment managers

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This study explores the use of electronic word-mouth (eWOM) for university selection by prospective international students, a little understood phenomenon in the context of high-involvement decision making. A total of 34 in-depth interviews were conducted, with a Taiwanese student group based in Taiwan, and another Taiwanese group based in the UK. The findings reveal that the co-creating nature of eWOM increases perceived information quality and truthfulness from eWOM receivers, leading to reliance on eWOM to evaluate the performance of universities, rather than conventional marketing-dominated information sources. This study provides insights into the impact of cultural identity on eWOM usage and how eWOM receivers obtain both information and emotional support from online forums. As eWOM from current students and alumni directly affect prospective students’ enrolment choices, academic leaders and recruitment managers at universities are advised to strengthen their Relationship Marketing with alumni to stimulate eWOM and facilitate student recruitment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-44
JournalThe Journal of General Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015



  • electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM)
  • online forums
  • university selection
  • Higher Education
  • international students

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