CCE Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Computing and Engineering


Ling Wang

Committee Member

Yair Levy

Committee Member

Gregory Simco


content aspect, relational aspect, social capital, social commerce, social media, social networking sites


Social Commerce (s-commerce) is an emerging and promising sub-domain of Electronic Commerce (e-commerce) that is supported by many Social Networking Sites (SNSs) such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Trust-building and trust-developing in the context of this novel realm have been identified as key parts of this environment and critical factors for its success. Most firms have embraced this new social technological concept for advertising and increasing sales. However, there is still a lack of clear corporate understanding of the factors that influence trust-building in s-commerce environments, hence hindering investments in and potential economic development of this new medium. Many scholars have stressed the importance of conducting further research on understanding trust within the context of the s-commerce sites implemented on varying SNSs and on how trust can be built or enhanced within such an environment. Few research studies have examined the influential factors of trust and trust beliefs in the form of multidimensional concepts with the application of multiple related theories.

This research study empirically tested a Social Commerce Trust Building Model (SC-TBM). The model was constructed and developed based on the integration of the stimulus-response theory, stimulus-organism-response theoretical framework, trust transference theory, social exchange theory, social impact theory, and social capital theory. The informational content aspect’s factors (i.e., information availability and emotional reviews) and relational aspect’s factors (i.e., bridging and bonding social capital) were identified as antecedent predictors of trust belief dimensions (i.e., competence, integrity, benevolence) in the SC-TBM. The moderating role of users’ prior experience in the relationship between content and relational aspects’ factors and trust beliefs dimensions was also investigated. In addition, culture, trust propensity, and reputation were considered as control variables in the SC-TBM due to their impact on measuring trust belief dimensions.

To examine the influence of these factors on building trust beliefs, a quantitative research approach and a random sampling method were applied. A web-based survey was designed using a seven-point Likert scale for the three main phases of the study. In phase one, a total of 20 subject matter experts were involved to evaluate and validate the content of the survey instrument. The survey instrument was also assessed by 123 participants in the pilot study phase. The survey link was distributed to the target participants via social media applications, such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and WhatsApp, as well as through emails. A total of 578 responses were received, out of which 495 valid responses were analyzed, in phase three, for the main study. The Covariance-Based Structural Equation Modeling (CB-SEM) approach was adopted to analyze the study’s main collected data by using two types of statistical software: Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and Analysis of a Moment Structures (AMOS).

The results of the data analysis showed that information availability, emotional reviews, and bonding social capital are strong predictors of trust belief dimensions, i.e., competence, integrity, and benevolence. Emotional reviews had the most significant impact on trust belief dimensions in the SC-TBM. Bridging and bonding social capital all have a significant impact on how users generate social content, i.e., providing information and emotional reviews for products or services. However, while bridging social capital had a significant impact on competence and benevolence, it had no effect on integrity. In addition, this study found that the user’s prior experience variable does not moderate the relationship between the content and relational aspects’ factors and the dimensions of trust belief. The findings of this research study significantly contribute to the body of knowledge on information systems and have implications for practitioners and academic researchers. It appears that this research study is among the few works that investigate the integration of different viewpoints brought by diverse theories, as presented in the SC-TBM, to deeply understand social media shoppers’ behaviors. The findings also provided further insights into and knowledge on how specific factors may support building multidimensional trust beliefs within the context of s-commerce sites.

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