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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The adoption and use of e-commerce technological artifacts : a similarity-consistency model and an empirical investigation Al-Natour, Sameh


The goal of explaining user acceptance and continued use of information systems (IS) has taken center stage in IS research (Venkatesh et al., 2003). In recent publications, researchers have argued that websites should be designed with the goal of building relationships. Although such research has focused on relationship-building, the theories that have been utilized to explain this process have been static in nature, and many have been based on traditional models like TAM and TPB, which focus on the utilitarian benefits users receive from their interactions with technological artifacts. This research develops a new model for studying e-commerce relationships, proposing that technological artifacts are perceived as social actors, which can manifest social characteristics that interact with those of its users in a manner predicted by theories of interpersonal interaction. The model is then tested in an empirical study. Using an automated shopping assistant, the study investigates the effects of perceived measures and computed scores of both similarity and consistency on a number of dependent variables. Similarity and consistency have been both shown to be instrumental in predicting attraction and satisfaction in all forms of relationships. Furthermore, the study investigates the role of design characteristics, such as communication channel modality, the use of suggestive guidance and directives, and two different decision strategies, in forming social perceptions about the shopping assistant as well as shaping perceptions of consistency. Both similarity and consistency have positive effects on users' evaluations of automated shopping assistants. While the effects of consistency are stronger overall, two types of similarity (personality similarity and behavioral similarity) as well as two types of consistency (consistency across time and consistency across components) are shown to exert unique influences on evaluations of the shopping assistant, such as its trustworthiness, social presence, perceived enjoyment and perceived ease of use. Furthermore, the computed similarity measures were successful in predicting perceived similarity. Design choices, such as the use of decisional guidance, directives, and the elimination by aspect decision strategy, were effective in forming social perceptions of technological artifacts, which were found to be later used as bases for evaluating the artifact's similarity and consistency.

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