Conference Paper

You Can’t Fight What You Can’t Grasp: A Multilevel Conceptualization of Consumer Uncertainty in Cloud Service Contexts

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Abstract

Cloud services are abstract, complex and lack personal contact. Accordingly, consumers face a multitude of uncertainties that make them hesitant to adopt such services. It is very challenging but in the provider’s best interest to mitigate consumers’ uncertainty. Providers must identify the most effective signals to provide consumers with convincing information. Such signals can originate from different sources including the provider itself, other transaction partners, or independent third parties. While the effectiveness of single information sources on uncertainty mitigation in general has been assessed, no study to date has investigated the varying effectiveness of different information sources on uncertainties or the reinforcing or weakening effect of combining different information sources at the same time. An investigation of such mitigation mechanisms requires a systematic conceptualization of cloud uncertainties that we lack today. This paper attempts to bridge this gap by developing and validating a multilevel conceptualization of consumer uncertainty in cloud service contexts first. In particular, we show how seven tangible uncertainty elements influence individuals’ intention to use cloud services and embed them into the established research on uncertainty. We then outline how we plan to exploit this multilevel conceptualization to investigate the erratic effectiveness of different information sources in mitigating selected types of uncertainty.

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As one of the emerging services in cloud paradigm, cloud storage enables users to remotely store their data into the cloud so as to enjoy the on-demand high quality applications and services from a shared pool of configurable computing resources. While cloud storage relieves users from the burden of local storage management and maintenance, it is also relinquishing users’ ultimate control over the fate of their data, which may put the correctness of outsourced data into risks. In order to regain the assurances of cloud data integrity and availability and enforce the quality of cloud storage service for users, we propose a highly efficient and flexible distributed storage verification scheme with two salient features, opposing to its predecessors. By utilizing the homomorphic token with distributed erasure-coded data, our scheme achieves the integration of storage correctness insurance and data error localization, i.e., the identification of misbehaving server(s). Unlike most prior works, the new scheme further supports secure and efficient dynamic operations on outsourced data, including: block modification, deletion and append. Extensive security and performance analysis shows the proposed scheme is highly efficient and resilient against Byzantine failure, malicious data modification attack, and even server colluding attacks.
Conference Paper
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Although switching costs are increasingly finding their way into models of customer loyalty, a lack of consistency and clarity exists regarding the appropriate conceptualization and measurement of this critical strategic construct. To address this deficiency, the following six dimensions of switching costs were proposed: (1) lost performance costs; (2) uncertainty costs; (3) pre-switching search and evaluation costs; (4) post-switching behavioral and cognitive costs; (5) setup costs; and (6) sunk costs. Support for these six dimensions was obtained across two studies and two service industries (banks and hairstylists). The multidimensional scale (24 items) evidenced reliability, discriminant validity, and convergent validity. In addition, individual dimensions related to various constructs in predictable and sometimes differential ways. For example, while all switching cost dimensions were positively and significantly associated with repurchase intentions in the overall sample, the association was strongest with lost performance costs. Industry differences also emerged both in the mean level of perceptions across switching cost dimensions, as well as in the strength of relationships between switching costs and outcomes such as repurchase intentions. For example, perceptions of setup costs and pre-switching search and evaluation costs were higher for hairstylists than banks and were also more strongly associated with repurchase intentions for hairstylists than banks. Strategic implications and areas for future research are discussed.
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Given the uncertainties of online transactions, e-commerce encourages the creation of institutional structures for online exchange relationships. Building upon the notion of institutional trust, this research examines how institutional structures develop through governance mechanisms leading to technology trust derived from structural assurances for online dyadic relationships. Technology trust is defined as the subjective probability by which organizations believe that the underlying technology infrastructure is capable of facilitating transactions according to their confident expectations. Using a cognitive process framework, we discuss four perspectives of trust, namely technological, economic, behavioral, and organizational perspectives, to show how technology trust evolves into relationship trust. We examine the impact of technology trust within an inter-organizational dyad between Cisco and Compaq. The findings posit that technology trust contributes and evolves into relationship trust. The study provides evidence on how specific structural assurances in Cisco Connection Online help to build initial online technology trust in B2B marketplaces that in turn promotes relationship trust and builds trustworthy e-commerce relationships. The paper discusses theoretical and managerial implications of this study, while proposing suggestions for future research.
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There is conflicting evidence as to the current level of awareness and impact of Web Assurance Seal Services (WASSs). This study examines the effects of an educational intervention designed to increase consumer's knowledge, of security and privacy aspect of business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce websites and assurance seal services. The study further explores the relationships among consumers' perceptions about online security, including WASSs awareness, importance of WASS, privacy concerns, security concerns, and information quality, before and after the educational intervention. The study finds that educating consumers about the security and privacy dangers of the web, as well as the role of web assurance seals, does increase their awareness and perceived importance of the seals. However, despite this increased awareness, there is little association between these assurance seals and the two indicators of trustworthiness, concerns about privacy and perceived information quality, of an e-commerce site, even after the intervention. Only security concerns have a statistically significant relationship with WASSs awareness before and after the educational intervention. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
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This paper integrates elements from the theory of agency, the theory of property rights and the theory of finance to develop a theory of the ownership structure of the firm. We define the concept of agency costs, show its relationship to the ‘separation and control’ issue, investigate the nature of the agency costs generated by the existence of debt and outside equity, demonstrate who bears these costs and why, and investigate the Pareto optimality of their existence. We also provide a new definition of the firm, and show how our analysis of the factors influencing the creation and issuance of debt and equity claims is a special case of the supply side of the completeness of markets problem.The directors of such [joint-stock] companies, however, being the managers rather of other people's money than of their own, it cannot well be expected, that they should watch over it with the same anxious vigilance with which the partners in a private copartnery frequently watch over their own. Like the stewards of a rich man, they are apt to consider attention to small matters as not for their master's honour, and very easily give themselves a dispensation from having it. Negligence and profusion, therefore, must always prevail, more or less, in the management of the affairs of such a company.Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776, Cannan Edition(Modern Library, New York, 1937) p. 700.
Article
One problem of eliciting knowledge from several experts is that experts may share only parts of their terminologies and conceptual systems. Experts may use the same term for different concepts, use different terms for the same concept, use the same term for the same concept, or use different terms and have different concepts. Moreover, clients who use an expert system have even less likelihood of sharing terms and concepts with the experts who produced it. This paper outlines a methodology for eliciting and recognizing such individual differences. It can then be used to focus discussion between experts on those differences between them which require resolution, enabling them to classify them in terms of differing terminologies, levels of abstraction, disagreements, and so on. The methodology promotes the full exploration of the conceptual framework of a domain of expertise by encouraging experts to operate in a “brain-storming” mode as a group, using differing viewpoints to develop a rich framework. It reduces social pressures forcing an invalid consensus by providing objective analysis of separately elicited conceptual systems.