Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Business Administration


Management Information Systems

First Advisor

Brian J. Reithel

Second Advisor

Douglas W. Vorhies

Third Advisor

Sumali Conlon

Relational Format



Objectives: The objectives of the study were 1) to conceptualize Initial Online Consumer Trust (IOCT) and 2) to examine the effects of website utility, electronic word-of-mouth, consumer past experiences with similar websites, and third-party service providers' reputation on the development of IOCT. Methods: To explore the research objectives, the study deployed a 2X3 experimental design that involved six experimental groups. Subjects were recruited from the undergraduate student pool at the University of Mississippi, School of Business. The vignettes used in the study was hypothetical book selling websites, one with the presence of third-party service providers and the other without any third-party service providers. Hypothetical customer feedbacks -positive or negative - were provided to the subjects to manipulate the effect of electronic word-of-mouth. The website utility effects, i.e., perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use were measured with multi-items scales adapted from the literature. Consumer past experiences with similar websites were conceptualized as historically positive effect and historically negative effect invoked by the new website and measured with a three-item scale each. Results: The result of this study suggested that perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use supported the development of IOCT. In addition, historically positive affect and historically negative affect invoked by an unknown website were significantly associated with the development of IOCT. ; Electronic word-of-mouth and effect of third-party service providers were not significant. Conclusion: This study discussed and delineated initial online consumer trust and explored its antecedents that may explain the importance of IOCT. New web vendors may employ the insights from this research to address typical business challenges within online environment.


Emphasis: MIS



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