Award Date

August 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Hotel Administration

First Committee Member

Sarah Tanford

Second Committee Member

Gail Sammons

Third Committee Member

Anthony Gatling

Fourth Committee Member

John A. Schibrowsky

Number of Pages



Today’s highly connected purchasing environment is unique in that consumers are confronted with a vast quantity of information from a variety of sources. Using the theoretical underpinnings of social influence and judgmental heuristics, this dissertation examines source and content characteristics to understand their influence on consumers’ perceptions and decisions. This dissertation utilized two experiments to examine how source and content attributes lead to different types information processing and types of social influence in online reviews. The first study utilized a 2 (expertise) x 2 (group membership) experimental design that manipulated source characteristics. The second study utilized a 2 (recommendation percentage) x 2 (content) x 2 (cognitive processing) experimental design that manipulated content characteristics.

The results of study 1 demonstrate that source characteristics of group membership and expertise can have an effect on consumers’ perceptions, decisions, and informational influence. The results of study 2 demonstrate how content characteristics can lead to different types of processing, affecting perceptions, decisions, and information recall. The results of this dissertation demonstrate that informational influence is present in online reviews. Normative influence is not present in online reviews suggesting the classic theories do not operate the same way in today’s online environment.


Decision-Making; Heuristics; Hotel; Online Purchasing; Online Reviews; Social Influence


Business Administration, Management, and Operations

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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