Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

Standardization or Adaptation during the Web - Mobile Service Transition: Understanding the Moderating Role of Gender

Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

Standardization or Adaptation during the Web - Mobile Service Transition: Understanding the Moderating Role of Gender

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1.Introduction

The advancements in mobile devices and wireless networks have announced the coming of a new era, namely the "always-on" society or "ubiquitous society" (Hong et al. 2008). In this new era, a variety of mobile services, including mobile commerce services (Chen et al. 2015; Fassnacht et al. 2006; Lee et al. 2007), mobile banking services (Gu et al. 2009; Yu 2012), mobile health services (Akter et al. 2011; Scheepers et al. 2006; Sun et al. 2013), mobile government services (Trimi et al. 2008), mobile instant messaging and social media (Deng et al. 2010; Wang et al. Forthcoming; Zhan et al. 2016) and mobile entertainment services (Constantiou et al. 2010; Ha et al. 2007; Wakefield et al. 2006), have emerged and are now greatly changing people's lives. With the rapid development of mobile technologies, web service providers tend to extend their services to the mobile context (Lin et al. 2011; Nysveen et al. 2005), facilitating the emergence of Amazon Mobile for mobile commerce and Facebook Mobile for mobile social networking services.

However, opportunity is always accompanied by challenges. A burning question for traditional web service providers is how to transition their web services to the mobile context. Two strategies can be used during the service transition process: the standardization strategy, which postulates using unified and standardized services across different contexts, and the adaptation strategy, which stresses that services should be varied and adapted to specific contexts (Chai et al. 2005; Szymanski et al. 1993; Tarasi et al. 2013; Theodosiou et al. 2003). Within our research context, the standardization strategy may pay attention to the consistency between web and mobile services, while the adaptation strategy suggests adjusting the mobile services according to the unique features of the mobile context. Both of these strategies have their respective advantages. For example, the standardization strategy can leverage users ' familiarity with prior web services and reduce the learning cost (Ahn 1999), while the adaptation strategy can address the difference between web and mobile contexts and provide users with services fit to the mobile context or offer unique services unavailable in web services, e.g., location-based services (Ferneley et al. 2006; Hennig-Thurau et al. 2010; Junglas et al. 2008b; Rao et al. 2003; Yun et al. 2013). Thus, it is of great importance to investigate this issue because practitioners want to search for certain guidelines for the strategic choice between standardization and adaptation in the web-mobile service transition context. Scholars are also curious about the relative importance of these two strategies. For instance, some users may prefer to maintain consistency between web and mobile service because they do not like to switch their behavioral patterns between two different contexts. In this situation, standardization strategy will be more effective than adaptation strategy. In contrast, some users may like mobile services that are fit to the mobile context such as fewer but more important searching results, making adaptation a better choice. Because using different strategies may satisfy different users' needs and different strategies may be associated with different design costs, it is important for service providers to adopt different strategies for different users.

In practice, to leverage the advantages of both standardization and adaptation strategies, most service providers may try to execute a hybrid strategy that balances the standardization and adaptation strategies, i.e., service providers may keep some service features consistent while changing other features to better fit the mobile context. In this case, standardization and adaptation strategies are able to coexist and the strategy selection is no longer an "either-or" question. To capture the extent to which users evaluate the levels of service standardization and adaptation, we adopt users' psychological perceptions about these strategies as the proxies. …

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