Understanding and mitigating uncertainty in online environments: A longitudinal analysis of the role of trust and social presence


Uncertainty has been widely touted as the primary barrier to e-commerce adoption. To better understand the nature of uncertainty and mitigate its potentially harmful impact on e-commerce, this study draws upon agency theory to identify and examine three antecedents of uncertainty - information asymmetry, seller opportunism, and privacy concerns. In turn, trust and social presence are hypothesized as the key factors that facilitate e-commerce adoption by mitigating these three sources of uncertainty. The proposed structural model is tested in the context of online prescription filling with a sample of 357 online consumers. The longitudinal results support the proposed hypotheses, delineating the mechanisms by which trust and social presence facilitate e-commerce adoption through the mediating role of uncertainty and its three underlying dimensions. Implications for enhancing our understanding of e-commerce adoption and mitigating uncertainty in online environments by integrating sociological and economic theories are discussed.

Publication Title

Academy of Management 2005 Annual Meeting: A New Vision of Management in the 21st Century, AOM 2005

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