This study examined how characteristics of a referent and of a service affect perceived referent influence in the recommendation of a service provider. The study experimentally manipulated the source (referent) of influence to be dissimilar to the consumer or similar (cooriented) to the consumer. The study contrasted service choices in which consumers have widely differing tastes and preferences (high- preference heterogeneity) and service choices in which consumers have little difference in tastes and preferences (low-preference heterogeneity). Results support the importance of both source coorientation and preference heterogeneity in determining the amount of informational influence.
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