An investigation of the determinants of transactional website use from public computers
Rensel, Ann D
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These three interrelated essays study the central problem of transactional website use from computers located in a public environment. The first essay 1 is an exploratory study of determinants of website use in a public environment. This study incorporates an extension of Triandis' modified TRA  and considers Affect, Social Norms and Facilitating Conditions in combination with User Characteristics to begin to answer the question, are people willing to engage in website transactions while using computers located in a public environment. To explore this question, survey data gathered from New York State public library users was tested using structural equation modeling. The second essay 2 considers the external physical environment and the internal virtual environment present in and around publicly located computers that are used for Internet access. The public environment in which a computer is located contains many dimensions that are different from those of a private computer. A public computer is used by a multitude of people and the maintenance of the equipment is the responsibility of others, unknown to the user. This creates a situation in the computer where spyware and tracking software may be present on the machine gathering information about the individual users Internet activities, this is of particular importance when the user inputs information during a web-based transaction. Likewise the physical environment commonly affords little privacy and thus leaves a user susceptible to interruptions and unable to concentrate on web-based transactions. This study focuses solely on the physical and virtual facilitating conditions found in and around a public computer and examines the moderating effect of the individual difference, Individual Need for Privacy, on these relationships. In order to empirically test this model, a moderated partial least squares (PLS) approach is employed using survey data gathered from computer users in public libraries. The third essay examines the influence of Internet Self-Efficacy in combination with Risk Attitudes on public transactional website use. Grounded in Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory  this essay considers a specific form of self-efficacy relevant to online transactional web-site use, Internet Self-Efficacy, and three categories of expected outcomes in combination with risk perception to attempt to predict public transactional web-site use. The model is empirically tested using a PLS approach using statewide public library computer use survey data and the findings indicate that risk attitudes and concerns about internet transactions are determinants of public transactional website use. The attitudes toward internet risk arise from a perception of risk in the online environment and a perception of risk in being tracked. There was no evidence users are sensitive to the potential risks in the virtual environment of the public computer. 1 A prior version of this paper was presented at the 39 th Annual Hawaii Conference on Science and Systems, Poipu, Kauai. January 4-7, 2006. 2 A previous version of this article was presented at the MISRC/CRITO Symposium on the Digital Divide, Minneapolis MN, Aug 27-28, 2004. The article was invited to revise and resubmit for publication in the Special Edition of the Journal of the Association of Information Systems. The paper has been revised accordingly and appeared in JAIS, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp 19-50.