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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Negative Word of Mouth about Luxury Goods: An Empirical Investigation of the Role of Guilt Feelings

Published: May 28, 2019


Cesare Amatulli, University of Bari; Matteo De Angelis, Luiss University; Giovanni Pino, University of Portsmouth; Gianluigi Guido, University of Salento


Luxury; Sustainability; Negative Word-of-Mouth


This research investigates whether and why communication regarding unsustainable luxury may lead to negative word of mouth about the manufacturing company. We propose that messages revealing that a luxury product consumers have bought has been produced in an unsustainable manner may elicit a higher sense of guilt than messages revealing the unsustainable nature of a mass-market product consumers have bought. Guilt, in turn, drives consumers’ intentions to generate negative word-of-mouth about the producer. We also propose that the positive effect of guilt on negative word of mouth is moderated by consumers’ individualistic orientation, whereby we expect that effect to be more pronounced among consumers with a higher versus lower individualistic orientation. Across three experiments, we find confirmation about our predictions. Overall, this research makes important contributions to advancing literatures on sustainable luxury, emotions associated with luxury and word of mouth behavior.