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Title: Online trust cues : universal or culture-specific? : a cross-cultural study of the role of consumers' background culture in developing online trust
Author: Bauman, Antonina A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5357 901X
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2014
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The virtual nature of e-commerce creates both opportunities and risks for online sellers and buyers. Online sellers welcome the opportunity to expand their markets worldwide but face fierce competition. Establishing long-term customer relationships based on trust and loyalty has proved to be a successful business strategy. In attempts to attract and retain global customers, e-vendors signal their trustworthiness through web design elements. These signals are directed to the customers, regardless of the country in which they live. The ability to shop across traditional physical borders, and purchase foreign products from the convenience of home, appeals to a growing number of consumers; however, online buyers are cautious about which online stores they can trust. Online consumers enter online exchanges when they develop initial trust based on their perceptions of e-vendors' signals or cues of the company's ability, benevolence, and integrity. The majority of existing cross-cultural studies of online trust and online trust cues use quantitative research methods. Their findings on the impact of consumers' cultural background on developing online trust appear to be inconsistent as some studies find no impact of culture on developing online trust, while others provide evidence of the opposite. There is still another group of researchers who propose the existence of a common virtual culture that is adhered to by customers around the world regardless of their cultural background. This presents an opportunity for a study with a qualitative approach that would explore the cultural influence on customers' perceptions of online trust cues and help to better understand what makes customers trust one web site and not another. This research focuses on the first phase of developing online trust -identification and interpretation of online trust cues as recognized by shoppers from three different countries (Germany, Russia, and the United States). A repertory grid research technique was implemented and, as a result, fourteen categories of online trust cues were identified and compared across three cultures. This study provides a three-fold contribution as the results of this work add to methodology and epistemology as well as have practical implications: (1) This study is, to date, the only research that utilizes the repertory grid method for collecting data online and analyzing consumers' perceptions of online trust cues (2) This study contributes to the academic literature on online trust signals as it provides insight into the types of cues that are identified by customers from three different cultures (3) This study provides practical recommendations for e-vendors on what trust signals could be incorporated into the design of commercial web sites to appeal to global customers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available