Uncertainty Avoidance and Consumer Perceptions of Global e-Commerce Sites: A Multi-Level Model
Williams, Clay K.
Polites, Greta L.
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Online purchasing is a decision-making process that involves inherent uncertainty. Yet consumer tolerance for uncertainty differs across cultures, requiring e-vendors to decide whether to adapt websites to different cultures when operating globally. We examine the effect of Hofstede’s cultural dimension of uncertainty avoidance (UA) on consumer perceptions of e-loyalty. Viewing information quality, trust, and system quality as uncertainty reduction mechanisms, UA is hypothesized to moderate relationships involving these constructs in a recognized model of IS success. Specifically, we posit that relationships involving these constructs will be stronger for consumers from high UA cultures. Using data drawn from over 3,500 actual consumers from 38 different countries, and controlling for the impact of other cultural dimensions, results suggest that UA moderates the effects of information quality on perceived usefulness, and of trust on e-loyalty, but not system quality relationships. We discuss practical implications of our research, in regard to designing websites intended for global use.