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The Match between Information Control and Motivation in the Online Context

Authors


Correspondence regarding this article should be sent to: Ling-Ling Wu, Associate Professor, Department of Information Management, College of Management, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Roosevelt Street, Section 4, Building II, 604, Taipei, Taiwan (llwu@management.ntu.edu.tw; linjiayan@gmail.com)

ABSTRACT

E-commerce practitioners have long tried to leverage the technological characteristics of the Internet to facilitate better information seeking and decision making by consumers online. One impressive characteristic of the Internet is that it offers users various degrees of information control on the same medium. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of this characteristic on consumers’ decision-making online. It is hypothesized that, to improve quality of consumers’ decisions, the degree of information control should match the degree of motivation. The rationale is that highly motivated consumers have a strong will to search for relevant information; therefore, a high degree of information control allows them to search as much as they want and thereby improve their decision making. Low-motivation consumers, on the other hand, are unwilling to search; hence a low degree of information control, which might push high-quality information, would benefit them. The study employed the methodology of experiment, and involved 171 voluntary participants. The empirical results show that high-motivation consumers make better decisions when they are given a high degree of information control, compared to when they are in a low information control condition. On the other hand, low-motivation consumers in a low information control condition perform better than similar consumers in a high-control condition. The results strongly support the match hypothesis of information control.

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