AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

Sensegiving Word-of-Mouth and Collective Sensemaking About Epistemic Objects

by Andrew Nicholas Smith

Institution: York University
Year: 2015
Keywords: Marketing
Record ID: 2060360
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/28224


Using theories of sensegiving and sensemaking, I explore how people engage in word-of-mouth about stocks, which are conceptualized as epistemic objects. I draw on netnographic and interview data related to an online investment community, and find that people employ five broad types of word-of-mouth strategies – framing, cuing, connecting, action facilitating, and unsettling – in giving sense about epistemic objects. I also identify the ways in which audiences respond to this form of word-of-mouth, as a part of a collective sensemaking process, and find that their responses pertain to the speaker, the account, as well as their own behavior. Finally, I develop propositions that describe the relationships between sensegiving word-of-mouth strategies and the responses they elicit. This research makes a number of conceptual contributions. It develops the concept of discursive response, an important component of networked word-of-mouth and a manifestation of engagement, and identifies the word-of-mouth strategies associated with higher volumes and types of discursive response. It generates knowledge about word-of-mouth processes. It also provides learning about collective sensemaking and sensegiving. Along with these contributions, this research offers important insights for managers and public policy makers, such as how to elicit online engagement and assist in the collective sensemaking process.