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Influence of the Web vendor's level of intervention with regard to privacy on behavioral intention in e -commerce

Silvana Faja, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Concern about information privacy has been considered one of the most important issues in the context of Internet. To deal with this concern in the context of self-regulation, electronic commerce web sites have implemented measures such as posting privacy policies and displaying third party seals. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect that the level of such interventions have on the users' perceptions and behaviors in the context of privacy during the initial transaction with an unknown web site. A research model was presented and empirically tested by the means of a laboratory experiment. Three different levels of interventions were considered, with the number of privacy-related elements in the web site varying from one in the first level to three in the third level. An experimental web site was set up for the purpose of this study. The web site was the same for the three levels, except for the privacy-related elements. ^ The results of the statistical analyses showed that web vendor's interventions had an overall effect on the user perceptions of information privacy in the site. However, the study showed that having more privacy elements in the web site does not increase the favorable perceptions of the web site. The research model also considered the role of other privacy related constructs such as general concern about online privacy and type of information. ^ The online privacy is an issue of interest for various stakeholders in the development of e-commerce. As such, this study represents a timely contribution in the research efforts aiming at a better understanding of issues related to privacy online. Given its experimental nature, this study provides insights into the role of privacy-related factors controlling for other factors that may influence the purchase decision. From the practice perspective, a better understanding of these relationships will lead to better policy decisions and better design of web sites and technology tools that can assist Internet users in protecting their privacy. ^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Management|Mass Communications|Information Science

Recommended Citation

Faja, Silvana, "Influence of the Web vendor's level of intervention with regard to privacy on behavioral intention in e -commerce" (2004). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3126949.