Thesis Title

Web Site Privacy Policy Statements: How They Impact Consumer Trust

Date of Graduation

Fall 2004

Degree

Master of Science in Computer Information Systems

Department

Computer Information Systems

Committee Chair

David Meinert

Keywords

consumer privacy, e-commerce, Web sites, trust, consumer behavior, privacy policy, Internet

Subject Categories

Management Information Systems

Abstract

Consumers' concerns about information privacy are a primary obstacle to the success of e-commerce. The adoption of privacy policy statements by Web site operators is a direct response to this concern. This exploratory study examined the impact of Web site privacy policy statements on consumer trust. The willingness of consumers to provide various types of personal information given varying degrees of protection offered by privacy policy statements was examined. The influence of other factors such as privacy policy statement compliance audits by third parties, the presence of security software and reputation of the organization operating the Web site were also examined. The results demonstrated that both the nature of the information requested and level of privacy guaranteed by the statements influences consumer willingness to provide information via Web sites. In general, the stronger the protections afforded by the privacy policy statement the more willing respondents were to provide information online. The results also demonstrated that consumer willingness to provide information online is influenced by the nature of information being collected. Surprisingly, the results suggest that less than one-half of Internet users have ever read a privacy statement.

Copyright

© John R. Criswell II

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