Title: A cross-cultural comparison of the impact of Social Presence on website trust, usefulness and enjoyment

Authors: Khaled Hassanein, Milena Head, Chunhua Ju

Addresses: DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 4M4, Canada. ' DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 4M4, Canada. ' Science and Research Office, Zhejiang Gongshang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, 310035, PR China

Abstract: Previous studies have shown that website design elements (such as text and pictures) can be manipulated to increase the perception of Social Presence (SP) among online consumers, which can then impact trust, usefulness and enjoyment. This paper seeks to determine if the impacts of infusing SP in websites is culture specific or universal. We were able to demonstrate similar results with Chinese online consumers compared to Canadian online customers in terms of usefulness and enjoyment, but not for trust. The paper concludes with a discussion of these results outlining implications for practitioners and directions for future research.

Keywords: social presence; cross-cultural study; website design; Canada; China; web design; website trust; website usefulness; website enjoyment; online consumers.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEB.2009.029050

International Journal of Electronic Business, 2009 Vol.7 No.6, pp.625 - 641

Published online: 29 Oct 2009 *

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