Year

2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School of Economics & Information Systems - Faculty of Commerce

Abstract

This thesis describes post-positivist research in the field of Information Systems (IS), more specifically in Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce). Information systems (IS) and information technology (IT) both play a major role in improving productivity and competitive edge in e-commerce (Lin and Benjamin, 2000). The existence of IS does not depend on computers but it is the utilisation of computers and technology that produces a viable IS system (Davis and Olson, 1985).

E-commerce is considered as a new type of information system and was defined by Poong (2006, p. 553) as “an information system that provides catalogues of products over the World Wide Web”. Despite the deep employment of technology in Information Systems (IS), they are regarded as social systems.

Business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce has been rapidly changing the competitive landscape of retailing and service industries. Despite its claimed benefits, this innovative mode of retailing has not yet been accepted by every buyer. For company managers, the delays in the adoption of information systems such as e-commerce systems, and the empowerment of e-commerce users are recognised as a dilemma.

An interesting question is why some users accept the idea of online shopping more readily than others. This study aims at helping to improve information systems applications for e-commerce in the complex, technology-oriented marketing sector.

This thesis innovates a model to empower e-commerce users based on key critical factors that affect this technology. The core factors in this model are e-commerce self efficacy, Personal Innovation in Information Technology (PIIT), system ease of use, system experience, and technology anxiety. The model was empirically tested in a field experimental setting, using a real retail website for the purchasing decisions. The participants in this study were students at the University of Wollongong in Australia, as they are normal users of e-commerce. The Amazon.com website was chosen for this study, as this website is usually used by university students to buy books and CDs. The results of the investigation were tested using factor analysis and partial least square (PLS). The empirical testing provides support for the proposed theoretical model by explaining seventy-eight percent (78%) of the variance in the users’ intention to use e-commerce systems.

The implications of this study are both theoretical and practical. At the theoretical level, this study combined four models in one model. The first model, by Compeau et al. (1999)1, put social cognitive theory into practice for the IT area. The second model, by Thatcher and Perrewe (2002)2, applied personal innovation in information technology, trait anxiety, and computer anxiety to computer self-efficacy. Henry and Stone’s (1995)3 model is the third model used, as it employed ease of use and system experience in computer self-efficacy and outcome expectation. The final model was constructed by Kim and Kim (2005)4 and used specific self-efficacy (online trading self-efficacy) in customer trust, perceived risk, and buying intention. Therefore, it can be positively confirmed that this research model is a solid model, as it unites these four models into one to generate a clarification of users’ behaviour in the framework of e-commerce utilisation.

At the practical level, the study shows that adoption of e-commerce systems is directly, significantly and positively affected by e-commerce self-efficacy, outcome expectation (perceived usefulness), system ease of use, and system experience. It is proposed that individuals with higher levels of e-commerce self-efficacy, outcome expectation, system experience, and perceived system ease of use are more likely to perform an online transaction than those experiencing lower levels of these concepts.

The study makes significant contributions across all areas of IT adoption and usage research and practice. There is justification for claiming that the study model will empower the application of management information systems for e-commerce.

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