Sentiment Analysis in the UAE Social Networks Context: The Case of Emirates Telecommunication Corporation
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The main goal of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of automated opinion and sentiment analysis in social media in the UAE’s telecommunications sector context. The study also investigates the possible impact of sentiments expressed in reviews and opinions published in social media on customer decisions to use a mobile Internet package (Etisalat data plan). More specifically, the study examines the relationship between emotions and the following four important customer outcomes: satisfaction, trust, loyalty, and intention to recommend or repurchase a product or service in the UAE telecommunications industry context. Unlike many other studies involving sentiment analysis in social media, this study is conducted in a non-Western context: the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A Web-based questionnaire is used to obtain responses from a sample of 97 Etisalat data plan subscribers working in different organizations in the UAE. The data are subjected to a range of analytical methods, such as analysis of descriptive statistics, reliability testing, Pearson correlation analysis, automated sentiment analysis using various methods and dictionaries, and regression analysis. The findings reveal that customer loyalty, trust, product satisfaction and intention to repurchase or recommend are linked positively and significantly with customer emotions. Emotions are found to positively affect customer trust towards a company, as well as ascertain their loyalty towards the brand. In addition, emotions are found to influence product satisfaction. Emotions also impact the customer’s intention to recommend or repurchase the product. This study is the first empirical investigation of the efficacy of automated sentiment analysis of social media in the UAE telecommunications sector. The results show that sentiments expressed in customer reviews have a significant positive relationship with customers’ emotions, and, through these emotions, impact satisfaction, trust, loyalty and purchase recommendation in relation to product and services. Thus, companies in the UAE should invest in automated monitoring of sentiments and opinions in the social media and develop tactics and strategies for responding to the detected trends and opinions.