Exploring the Antecedents of Electronic Service Acceptance: Evidence from Internet Securities Trading

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1 Exploring the Antecedents of Electronic Service Acceptance: Evidence from Internet Securities Trading Siriluck Rotchanakitumnuai Department of Management Information Systems Faculty of Commerce and Accountancy Thammasat University Abstract Services through the web channel are becoming increasingly popular in the financial sector. The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) has implemented Internet trading as a new electronic service delivery channel, but the acceptance by securities investors has not yet been measured to assess the value of the implemented system. The two beliefs of the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness, have been used to investigate variables that motivate users to accept the new technology system. However, the antecedents of perceived usefulness and their impact have not been fully explained in the context of Internet securities trading which is one of the most information intensive and risk prone sectors. The purpose of this study is to examine whether investment in Internet securities trading technology has resulted in acceptance among Thai investors, in terms of creating effective ease of use, usefulness and trust. The survey results from securities investors show five antecedents which have a positive impact on perceived usefulness: perceived ease of use, information quality, accessibility, trust, and flow-control of the securities trading process. Respondents see the highest benefit in the flow-control of the securities trading processes via the Internet channel. Investors prefer to have the freedom to make their own decision when trading securities. Also trust has much influence on perceived usefulness. In addition, the accessibility benefit did not contribute much to increase perceived usefulness. Securities investors have a negative perception of the low speed of the Internet trading network system. The findings indicate that perceived usefulness has major influences on attitude toward usage of Internet securities trading service. Attitude toward usage has the strongest impact on intention to use whereas trust makes only small contribution to intention to use. Moreover, non-user investors have a lower intention to use and less trust in the Internet securities trading system. Apparently, the other channels, usually interpersonal interactions with the brokerage firms, remain most important in building trust. The study results suggest that electronic service providers should be concerned about increasing the integrity, reliability, efficiency of the network system, and their ability to manage the system more efficiently in order to entice them to make online transactions. Keywords: Electronic service, perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness, trust, flowcontrol Introduction Electronic service is also one of the channels that can be used to provide support to customers and to make online business transactions. Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on ebusiness, November 19-20, 2005, Bangkok, Thailand 12.1

2 In addition, customers can gain more control and experience through this channel because it allows them to navigate websites to compare information before making purchase decisions (Novak et al. 1999). Despite the impressive benefits of the web, customers still hesitate to conduct financial transactions via this channel. In contrast to traditional commerce, electronic service via the web channel has some notable barriers. For instance, customers still hesitate to make transactions via the web because of mistrust of the system security (Rotchanakitumnuai and Speece, 2003). The role of trust is one important factor to the success of electronic commerce (e.g. Dwyer et al., 1987; Hoffman et al., 1995). Service via the web channel sometimes cannot deliver on the promises and does not build customer trust, such as when there are reliability problems with the system (Jones et al. 2000). This could bring a lowered level of electronic service acceptance via the web channel. The securities trading sector, one of the most information intensive and risk prone sectors, is an interesting case for service innovation toward using the Internet for securities trading. The Securities Exchange of Thailand (SET) has responded to the increasing potential of Web technologies by implementing Internet securities trading, believing that the Internet trading channel can provide substantial benefits to investors e.g., save time and transaction cost. Empirical studies of the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) have found that information technology usage depends on two beliefs: perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness of the system (Davis 1989, Mathieson 1991). In this model, perceived ease of use has a positive impact on perceived usefulness, which has a direct impact on attitude toward usage. Further, intention to use is determined by attitude toward usage and by perceived usefulness. The TAM has been applied to explain an individual s adoption and usage of computer tools and systems such as word processing, spreadsheets, , voice mail, and intranet systems (Adam et al. 1992; Chau 1996; Horton et al. 2001; Igbaria et al.1995; Mathieson 1991; Straub et al. 1995). This model has not been validated for explaining electronic service acceptance, although there are some studies that have supported the use of TAM in the WWW context (Gefen et al. 2003; Hsu and Chiu, 2004; Lederer et al. 2000). Extending the model to electronic service acceptance constitutes an important research issue due to the characteristics of electronic service (e.g., elements of web design and user interface, types of information contained in the website, and the ability of the web-based service provider to implement the electronic service successfully). There has been little empirical research on the antecedents of TAM s constructs in the specific context of Internet securities trading. Understanding the antecedents of usefulness is important because of their major role in determining users acceptance and usage in the uncertain and risky environment of using the Internet for financial purposes. Hence, the implementation success of Internet securities trading depends on investors acceptance of this electronic service system. The empirical studies about user acceptance of electronic services are relatively rare. Specific to this study, little attention has been given in the literature to user acceptance of Internet securities trading service acceptance. Research on electronic service user acceptance for high risk financial services, therefore, will be worthy in providing useful information, especially at this early stage of development and implementation. The purpose of this study is to examine whether investment in Internet securities trading technology has resulted in acceptance among Thai investors, in terms of creating effective ease of use, usefulness and trust. In order to improve investors adoption and effective usage of Internet securities Special Issue of the International Journal of the Computer, the Internet and Management, Vol. 13 No.SP3, November,

3 trading, the usefulness, trust, and associated ease of use factors must be investigated and analyzed, so that customer value can be maximized. In addition, this study also examines investors perception of the trust which the Internet securities trading system may be able to build. The study aims to explore the consequence of perceived usefulness and trust on attitude toward usage, and the impact of perceived usefulness, attitude toward usage and trust on behavioral intention to use the electronic service. Theoretical Background Perceived Ease of Use: Perceived ease of use is the degree to which a user believes that the amount of effort needed to use a particular technology is free or low (e.g., easy to learn, easy to understand). Specific to electronic service, perceived ease of use consists of the following determinants: easy to use, easy to read, using understandable terms, able to link to search for related information and easy to return to previous or jump to next page (Lederer et al. 2000). Perceived Usefulness: Perceived usefulness is the degree to which a user believes that a particular system can improve his or her work performance (e.g. increase productivity, work faster). Electronic service provides information beneficial to customers. Electronic service enhances the time and cost saving benefits, and the ability to support the customer more efficiently. This research determines the antecedents of perceived usefulness as information quality, accessibility and flow-control. These antecedents are described in the following paragraphs. Information Quality: Information quality can be determined by several characteristics, such as accuracy, up-todateness, and relevance (Edmunds and Morris 2000). Information quality should also support analysis and assist users to make decisions (Lederer et al. 2001). Accessibility: The Internet channel provides information accessibility benefits that enable users to access service provider s websites more easily and efficiently. In the financial services sector, the web as means of transaction making and payment processing, has been perceived as more convenient, because it creates time and cost saving dimensions for the customers. Prior empirical research about Internet banking reveals that accessibility is one of the benefit factors affecting web-based adoption (Polatoglu and Ekin 2001; Rotchanakitumnuai and Speece 2004). This research defines the accessibility benefit as the ability to access the online service at any time and from any location. Flow-control: The benefit that individuals derive from the flow can create concentration (Koufaris 2002). In the traditional securities trading, investors normally have a personal relationship with the marketing staff of the brokerage firm when they want to make an order or sell their securities. Web-based self service provides users with more freedom and control over their activities when they are visiting the websites. Internet securities trading investors can take advantage of the capability of this system and concentrate on their securities trading decision. Concentration has been found to have a positive impact on user s experience of web usage (Novak et al. 1999). In addition, extensive empirical studies provided support for the positive relationship between perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness (Venkatesh et al. 2000; Lederer et al. 2000). Trust: Trust in the web system is one major factor that online customers frequently mentioned as a cause of unwillingness to use the web for commercial purpose (Gefen et al. 2003; Rotchanakitumnuai and Speece 2004). Distrust of the web system is related to security, and system failure and reliability. Customers are concerned about the consequences of making transactions via the Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on ebusiness, November 19-20, 2005, Bangkok, Thailand 12.3

4 web channel. Many scholars found that higher level of trust can enhance usefulness (e.g. Gefen et al. 2003). Many studies have already measured the direct impact that perceived usefulness and other related variables have on actual usage, ignoring the attitude toward usage and the intention to use (such as Adam et al. 1992; Gefen and Straub 1997; Straub et al. 1995). Findings about the attitude toward usage and the behavioral intention to use are important as they can determine customer s feelings (or emotional preferences) toward the service, as well as their commitment to use this service. As shown in Table 2.1, this study applies the correlation paths predicted by prior TAM research to hypothesize the electronic service acceptance. As in past TAM studies, the first underlying relationship is that perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness will have a positive impact on enhancing user s attitude toward usage. (Hsu and Chiu 2004; Chau 1996). In addition, trust is an important factor that determines the attitude toward electronic service usage. Furthermore, trust has a major impact on behavioral intention to use electronic services (Gefen et al., 2003). Prior studies provide evidence that perceived usefulness and attitudes toward usage have a significant impact on behavioral intention to use electronic commerce services (Bhattacherjee 2000). Finally, behavioral intention to use is a dominant predictor of actual usage (Lederer et al. 2000). Research Methodology The research questionnaire is divided into three sections, the first of which investigated the various types of services which Internet trading users used in Internet trading. This list of services used questions on a simple checklist scale. In section two, twenty-three statements were used to measure investors perception of ease of use, perceived usefulness, and trust in Internet trading. The questions are measured by a Likert scale ranging from 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree. The last section requests general information about respondent demographics. The initial list of items was discussed with three experts, including two Internet trading managers, and one academic in the field of Internet commerce to verify that each item represented the concept it was supposed to measure. Items about which the experts did not agree were reworded or eliminated. A small-sample pretest among securities investors was conducted with 30 investors to check the reliability of the items. Respondents were selected by convenience sampling from the securities investors from the securities brokers of The Stock Exchange of Thailand during the first quarter of The data was collected with the cooperation of managers from brokerage firms who assisted by informing their investors about the study and encouraging them to respond. A total of 500 questionnaires have been sent to securities investors. Consequently, 208 questionnaires of Internet trading users and 234 questionnaires of non-internet trading users were responded, for a total number of respondents at 442 or an 88.4 percent response rate. About 53 percent of the respondents are Internet trading users and about 47 percent are non-users. The respondents consist of more men than women. The survey results do not strongly represent the senior population, with about 40% of the respondents being in the age category of 30 and below, 38% in the age category of 31 to 40, and another 22% above 40 years. Nearly all respondents (95%) had university education, and about 42% held a graduate degree. Discussion and Conclusion The regression and ANCOVA results showed that the ease of use elements correlated with the perceived ease of use. Special Issue of the International Journal of the Computer, the Internet and Management, Vol. 13 No.SP3, November,

5 The non-user investors do not see much benefit in the ease of use. The results identified five factors (perceived ease of use, information quality, flow-control, accessibility, and trust) that are shown to be reliable measures for characterizing the perceived usefulness. Of these five, flowcontrol has the greatest impact on predicting usefulness. This implies that some investors are more independent, making risky financial transactions by themselves without following others advice. Trust also plays an important role in increasing the perceived usefulness. On the other hand, accessibility has the weakest influence on the perceived usefulness. A possible reason for this result could be the low speed of the Internet securities trading system and computer network infrastructure. Specific to this context, the fast movement of securities prices is crucial to achieving a gain or loss for investors; this makes investors very demanding when it comes to the system s accessibility. In addition, this study shows that the perceived usefulness of Internet securities trading does have a positive impact on the attitude toward usage. Perceived usefulness was linked to attitude toward usage significantly stronger than perceived ease of use and trust. Non-user investors felt some barriers adopting the system and have a lower attitude toward usage than user investors. Attitude toward usage, trust, and perceived usefulness were significantly correlated with intention to use. Attitude toward usage was linked to intention to use stronger than perceived usefulness. The findings also indicate that trust can enhance intention to use directly and indirectly through raising attitude toward usage. From a causal perspective, however, the results suggest that trust may be a better antecedent to perceived usefulness and attitude toward usage, rather than a parallel, direct determinant of intention to use. The trust barrier is stronger for nonusers, but even users are not entirely comfortable with Internet securities trading, and have not switched most of their financial transactions to the Internet yet. Moreover, the low speed of the Internet securities trading system or even the investors network system can create barriers to usage due to concerns about the financial risk and real-time data provided via the web. Hence, service providers have to concern themselves with the security protection system, and ensure that transaction failures are resolved. Such commitment from the brokerage firms is a prerequisite for improving trust which could probably increase the acceptance of customers for a while, given that not many brokerage firms are actually offering much beyond an Internet commodity that customers can easily find in several brokerage firms. This would reduce the likelihood that customers would change to a new service provider, although it might not be a long-lasting competitive advantage, because it would not be very difficult to duplicate. Thus, providing investors the widest choices for interaction and transaction channels, such as by adding electronic services via the Internet securities trading, is essential for service providers to stay competitive in most developed markets. In many developing countries where information technology development is still going on, it is debatable whether heavy investment in expensive high electronic service will have a payoff any time soon if service providers are not careful planning and choosing the appropriate service marketing strategies. The investigation of one specific context among high involvement services might limit the generalizability of these findings. Future research could extend this study to other web-based service contexts, especially in the contexts that have less Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on ebusiness, November 19-20, 2005, Bangkok, Thailand 12.5

6 strong relationship between service provider and customer. References Adams, D.A., Nelson, R.R. and Todd, P.A (1992). Perceived usefulness, ease of use, and usage of information technology: a replication, MIS Quarterly (16:2), June, pp Bhattacherjee, A. (2000) "An Empirical Analysis of the Antecedents of Electronic Commerce, Journal of Management Information Systems (17:2), Fall 2000, pp Chau, P.Y.K. (1996) An empirical assessment of a modified technology acceptance model, Journal of Management Information Systems (13:2), pp Davis, F.D.(1989), Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use and user acceptance of information technology, MIS Quarterly (13:3), September, pp Edmunds, A., and Morris, A. (2000), The problem of information overload in business organizations: a review of the literature, International Journal of Information Management (20), pp Gefen, D., Karahanna, E. and Straub, D.W. (2003), Trust and TAM in Online Shopping, MIS Quarterly 27 (1), pp Hsu, M.H. and Chiu, C.M. (2004), Internet self Efficacy and electronic service acceptance Decision Support Systems 38, pp Jones, S., M. Wilikens, P. Morris and Masera, M. (2000), Trust Requirements in E-Business: A conceptual framework for understanding the needs and concerns of different stakeholders, Communications of the ACM (43:12), pp Lederer, A.L., Maupin, D.J., Sena, M.P. and Zhuang, Y. (2000), The technology acceptance model and the World Wide Web, Decision Support Systems (29), pp Lederer, A.L., Mirchandani, D.A. and Sims, K. (2001), The Search for Strategic Advantage from the World Wide Web, International Journal of Electronic Commerce (5:4), pp Mathieson, K. (1991) Predicting user intention: Comparing the technology acceptance model with the theory of planned behavior, Information Systems Research (2:3), pp Mcknight, D.H. and Chervany, N. (2002),. What trust means in e-commerce Customer relationships: an interdisciplinary conceptual typology, International Journal of Electronic Commerce (6:2), pp Novak, T.P., Hoffman, D.L. and Yung, Y.F. (1999), Measuring the Customer Experience in Online Environments: A Structural Modeling Approach, Marketing Science (19:1),, pp Rotchanakitumnuai, S. and Speece, M. (2003) Barriers to Internet banking adoption: a qualitative study among corporate customers in Thailand, International Journal of Bank Marketing, (21: 6/7), pp Rotchanakitumnuai, S., and Speece, M. (2004) Business Value of Thai Internet Banking Services: The Corporate Customers Perspectives, Journal of Electronic Commerce Research (5:4), November, pp Straub, D. Limayem, M. and Karahanna- Evaristo, E. (1995), Measuring system usage: implications for IS theory testing, Management Science (41:8), pp Venkatesh, V. (2000), Determinants of perceived ease of use: Integrating control, intrinsic motivation, and emotion into the technology acceptance model, Information Systems Research (11:4), pp Special Issue of the International Journal of the Computer, the Internet and Management, Vol. 13 No.SP3, November,

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