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Transfer From Offline Trust to Key Online
Perceptions: An Empirical Study
Kun Chang Lee, Member, IEEE, Inwon Kang, and D. Harrison McKnight

Abstract—Research has provided little evidence that trust in an offline bank can encourage adoption of the bank’s online business. Yet, more and more brick-and-mortar banks and other businesses are investing in online Web sites that supposedly “leverage” positive consumer impressions of their offline business. The main purpose of this study is to test empirically whether or not trust in an offline bank transfers (i.e., influences) perceptions about that company’s online bank. In order to do so, we analyze how trust in an offline bank influences four perceptions about its online banking counterpart (flow, structural assurance, perceived Web site satisfaction, and perceived extent of future use). The study tests the hypothesized influence of offline trust using a sample of 199 South Korean consumers responding about offline and online banking. Results show that offline trust influences all four online perceptions, just as proposed. These effects were especially prominent among respondents new to online banking. Thus, offline-to-online transfer should be considered when designing strategies for online channels. This study fills a key research gap by examining transfer of cognitive beliefs from an offline to an online setting.

Index Terms—Cognitive overhead, coherence, extent of use, flow, marketing channel, online banking, online trust, structural assurance, trust, trust transfer, Web site satisfaction.

RUST is a central construct in the study of commercial
transactions, both in information systems (IS) and such reference disciplines as marketing, sociology, and organizational behavior [27], [31], [73], [75], [95]. Trust plays an important role in both offline and online commercial transactions [106]. Several IS studies on the role of trust in electronic commerce (ecommerce) have been conducted in recent years [5], [33], [34], [36], [43], [50], [58], [71], [80], [81], [96], [103]. Especially, with the advent of online marketplaces on the Internet as a new business paradigm, trust has been dealt with as a crucial enabling factor for business-to-consumer (B2C) relationships [33], [50] as well for business-to-business (B2B) marketplaces [80].

A number of trust constructs including institution-based trust [70], [81], [108] have been defined [34], [72]. Interpersonal or interparty trust definitions largely fall into two categories.


Manuscript received May 1, 2005; revised November 1, 2005, February 1, 2006, and July 1, 2006. Review of this manuscript was arranged by Department Editor A. Chakrabarti. This work was supported by Samsung Research Fund, Sungkyunkwan University, 2003.

K. C. Lee is with the School of Business Administration, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul 110-745, Korea (e-mail: kunchan[email protected]). I. Kang is with the School of Economics and International Trade, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-701, Korea (e-mail: [email protected]). D. H. McKnight is with the Accounting and Information Systems Department, Eli Broad College of Business, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1121 USA (e-mail: [email protected]).

Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TEM.2007.906851

1) Willingness to become vulnerable to another [67], [71],
such as “a willingness to rely on an exchange partner in
whom one has confidence” [74].
2) Positive perceptions or beliefs about the attributes of another. This includes the perception of “confidence in the exchange partner’s reliability and integrity” [75] and the perceived credibility (honesty) and benevolence of a particular target [30], [56]. Several researchers have listed integrity, benevolence, and ability as attributes [8], [34], [71]. In buyer–seller relational exchanges, which are the

most popular forms of transactions between persons or...
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