Satisfaction with internet-based services : a contingency theory

對網上服務的滿意程度 : 應變性理論

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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  • Shun Wah Vanessa LIU

Related Research Unit(s)


Awarding Institution
  • Mohamed KHALIFA (Supervisor)
Award date15 Feb 2005


Satisfaction has been studied extensively by Information Systems (IS) researchers. Most studies, however, focused on specific system characteristics, providing very little understanding of the process of satisfaction formation. Many marketing studies examined satisfaction formation, instead, based on behavioral theories with traditional products/services. It is hence not clear whether the findings from the marketing literature can be applied to the context of Internet-based services of which satisfaction is affected by factors other than the general service quality but also certain technology-specific factors such as information intensity and user-friendliness. The expectation disconfirmation theory originally developed in the marketing field has been recently applied by a number of IS studies to explain satisfaction without justifying its applicability. Yet the characteristics of novelty and continuous evolution inherent in information technologies may substantially inhibit the formation of expectations, impairing the significance of expectations in determining satisfaction and hence the applicability of the theory. Therefore satisfaction theories originated from the marketing discipline may not be appropriate nor sufficient to explain IS satisfaction. Instead, further theoretical development is necessary to achieve such objective. To address this theoretical gap, I draw upon the accessibility-diagnosticity framework to develop and empirically validate a contingency theory that enhances the applicability of disconfirmation models to IS contexts. I use both expectations and desires as comparison standards to explain/predict satisfaction with internet-based services at adoption and post-adoption stages. I argue and attempt to empirically demonstrate that the moderating effects of confidence in expectations account for the variability of the magnitude and significance of the determinants of satisfaction over time. The research model was validated by a longitudinal survey study consisting of the adoption and post-adoption phases with over 200 members of an online knowledge community. Results of the empirical analysis confirm the necessity of including both expectation and desires as comparison standards in the early stages of adoption. More importantly, the findings also confirm that as expectation confidence increases the effect of expectation disconfirmation is strengthened and that of desire disconfirmation is weakened. These findings explain the variability of the determinants of satisfaction over different adoption stages reported in previous research. This study entails both theoretical and practical implications. On the theoretical side, it demonstrates the necessity for developing the disconfirmation theory further to make it more suitable to the IS context. It also reveals the significant moderating role of confidence in expectations in enhancing the consistency of the theory. On the practical side, the proposed model explicitly explains the interplay between desires and expectations over time in shaping satisfaction in the context of electronic commerce. While customer expectation management has been a hot topic to managers, the findings highlight the need to elicit customer/user desires. Practitioners engaging in electronic customer relationship management (eCRM) should also take into consideration the familiarity of the customer with the IT-based products/services in deciding which satisfaction standard to emphasize.

    Research areas

  • Consumer satisfaction, Online information services