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Culture and consumer responses to web download time: a four-continent study of mono and polychronism

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3 Author(s)
Rose, G.M. ; Coll. of Bus. & Electron., Washington State Univ., Vancouver, WA, USA ; Evaristo, R. ; Straub, D.

Most e-commerce sites would like to include as much relevant and sales-inducing content on their pages as possible. Unfortunately, resulting download delays may lead to consumer frustration and a negative attitude toward the product or service displayed. But is frustration with download delay a universal problem or is it culture-specific? How should firms view this problem? These are the primary research questions investigated in the current study. An experiment conducted on four continents was selected as an appropriate research method to answer those questions. Country sites were selected for differing cultural senses of time and how this might affect individual responses to download delay. Our sample included the US and Finnish cultures representing monochronic cultures and Egyptian and Peruvian cultures representing polychronic cultures. Consistent with the proposed hypotheses, subjects from polychronic cultures were significantly less concerned with download delays than subjects in monochronic cultures. Similarly, perceived wait times varied significantly between the mono- and polychronic groups. Practical insights derived from this study enable specific suggestions on customization of web page content richness as well as infrastructure requirements based on the cultural identity of the intended e-Consumer. Moreover, results suggest theoretical implications for future research.

Published in:

Engineering Management, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:50 ,  Issue: 1 )