The notion of peer influence in new product adoption or trial is well accepted. We propose that peer influence may affect repeat behavior as well, though the process and source of influence are likely to differ between trial and repeat. Our analysis of the acceptance of a risky prescription drug by physicians provides three novel findings. First, there is evidence of contagion not only in trial but also in repeat. Second, who is most influential varies across stages. Physicians with high centrality in the discussion and referral network and with high prescription volume are influential in trial but not repeat. In contrast, immediate colleagues, few of whom are nominated as a discussion or referral partner, are influential in both trial and repeat. Third, who is most influenceable also varies across stages. For trial, it is physicians who do not consider themselves to be opinion leaders, whereas for repeat, it is those located towards the middle of the status distribution as measured by network centrality. The pattern of results is consistent with informational social influence reducing risk in trial and normative social influence increasing conformity in repeat.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management