Consumers' accounts of perceived risk online and the influence of communication sources

Andrews, Lynda & Boyle, Maree V. (2008) Consumers' accounts of perceived risk online and the influence of communication sources. Qualitative Market Research: an international journal, 11(1), pp. 59-75.

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The purpose of this paper is to extend marketing knowledge into perceived risk in online transactions beyond the current positivistic, hypotheses-driven research by providing qualitative insights into how individuals construct their accounts of perceived risk online. Additionally, the study reported in this paper aims to explore how communication sources influence both these subjective constructions and individuals' behavioural experiences with transaction activity on the web.

Design/methodology/approach - The study was developed within a grounded theory method.Ten in-depth interviews were conducted which were analysed using constant comparison of incidents procedures to provide rich descriptions of the interviewees' subjective perceptions and lived experiences with online transaction activity.

Findings - The findings provide insights into how the human clement is present in individuals'perceptions and constructions of their accounts of the risk involved online.The findings also identify the influence of mass communication sources on the construction of these accounts. The study provides insights into whether change agent communication sources, such as marketers or web designers,influence consumers' behaviours towards online transaction activity through mediating their perceptions of the risks involved. The study also reveals how social communication networks influence the interviewees' decisions to use the web (or transaction activities, in particular online purchasing, and how the group in this study might act as a communication source to influence others.

Research limitations/Implications - While the findings cannot be generalised to the internet population overall, the sample used was able to provide relevant information regarding the phenomenon of interest. Future research should continue to examine perceived risk and the influence of communications sources, such as e-mail, discussion groups and virtual communities.

Originality/value - The value of the paper lies in permitting the participants to account for perceived risk for themselves. The findings ex.plore what this means at increasing levels of personal relevance and the influence of communication sources to create, sustain or mediate perceptions of this phenomenon.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 26422
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Communication, Mass Media, Qualitative Research, Risk Analysis, Online Operations
DOI: 10.1108/13522750810845559
ISSN: 1352-2752
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > MARKETING (150500) > Marketing not elsewhere classified (150599)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Deposited On: 22 Jul 2009 23:37
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2012 23:50

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