CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

Credible Webcast for Financial Communications

Date of Award

2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

Frank W. Nasuti

Committee Member

William L. Hafner

Abstract

A growing body of knowledge suggests that credibility can be engineered into computer applications. This dissertation evaluates the moderating variables of engagement, persuasive tools, and attunement and common ground to determine whether the credibility of financial web casts is enhanced. A sample population that understands financial reporting evaluated three alternative webcasts that used (a) streaming audio, (b) streaming audio and slides with financial content, and (c) integrated streaming audio, slides with financial content, and an interface design to enhance engagement, offer persuasive tools, and create attunement and common ground. When participants were asked what they liked most about the streaming audio webcast, the favorable response to the professional actor used in the research was the dominant theme. When participants were asked about what they liked most about the webcast that used streaming audio and slides, the favorable response to the slides with financial content was the dominant theme. The enhanced webcast with an interface design that attempted to enhance engagement, offer persuasive tools, and create attunement and common ground produced subdued favorable feedback. The enhanced webcast paced the slide presentation with the speaker and ultimately caused participants to make unfavorable comments about excessive speed and confusion. The streaming audio and slide with financial content in print form produced higher positive levels of satisfaction in graphics, usefulness, value, and trust. Within the scope of this research, it could not be determined whether selected features used in the enhanced webcast could further enhance credibility. Several areas of additional research are suggested, including designs that further enhance user control and streaming video. Over 50% of the Fortune 1000 use streaming audio webcasts, an application design that produces lower levels of usefulness, value, and trust than a webcast using streaming audio and slides with financial content. The Securities and Exchange Commission recommended financial webcasts in 2001 to enhance financial disclosure communications using asynchronous communications. Companies in the Fortune 1000 use webcasts extensively for investor relations. Additionally, this research has broad implications for webcast applications in other domains and multimedia.

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