Project Unblackboxing IT Certifications: A Decompositional Analysis of IT Certifications in Electronic Markets and their Impact on Customer and Platform Provider Perceptions
- Project Group:
Ali Sunyaev, Sebastian Lins, Maximilian Renner
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
The research project “Unblackboxing IT Certifications: A Decompositional Analysis of IT Certifications in Electronic Markets and their Impact on Customer and Platform Provider Perceptions”, which is funded by the German Research Foundation, will be extended by further two years (project type and duration: DFG funded project, June 2019 – May 2021). Together, Prof. Dr. Sunyaev (KIT, AIFB, cii Research Group) and Prof. Dr. Benlian (Darmstadt University of Technology, Chair for Information Systems & E-Services) work on this research project that deals with consumers' and vendors' perception of IT certifications in the context of electronic markets.
Main Goals of the Research Project
Buying in electronic markets has become an important part of everyday life during the twenty-first century. Yet, customers are facing new uncertainties (i.e., platform security issues or malicious online platform providers) and an increasing vulnerability regarding frauds (i.e., sharing sensitive (payment) information) compared to brick-and-mortar markets. These uncertainties and frauds make many customers reluctant or doubtful to engage in exchange relationships with online platform providers. To counteract these issues, practitioners and academics recommend to use and embed IT certificates, thereby reducing uncertainties and fostering the development of stable electronic markets.
In the course of this two-year project, three main goals have already been achieved: (1) the structural differences between IT certificates and their impact on customers’ and platform providers’ perception (opening the “black box”), (2) the linkage of customers’ and platform providers’ perception of IT certificates, and (3) the design of IT certificates and how they can be presented most effectively on web sites.
Based on these initial results, there is still a lack of empirically validated findings and research models explaining how factors in the certification ecosystem can influence consumers’ and platforms providers’ perception of IT certificates. In electronic markets, particularly on online platforms in e-commerce, two influencing factors in the certification ecosystem are of utmost importance: First, the certification authority as an independent third-party and, second, complementary or competing information signals on an online platform. Moreover, in previous research, it still remains unclear how IT certificates will be perceived by customers in the long term. Thus, this research project seeks answers to the following questions: (1) how a certification authority as an independent third-party impacts the perception of IT certificates, (2) which effects different information signals have on the perception of IT certificates, and (3) what the long-term effects of IT certificates are (if customers interact several times with a certified online platform).