Subject: General Questions    / General General Questions    

Question

Case Study: Measurement of Variables– Operational Definitions

Chapter 11: TheStandard AsianMerchantBank

TheStandardAsianMerchantBankisa MalaysianmerchantbankheadquarteredinKuala Lumpur.Thebankprovidesfinancialservicesin assetmanagement,corporatefinance,and securities broking. Clients of The Standard Asian Merchant Bank are among others institutional investors, foundations, (semi) public institutions, companies, and high net- worthindividualclients.SegmentsinwhichTheStandardAsianMerchantBankoperatesare smallandmedium-sizedlistedcompanies,realestate,andbiotechfirms.

SyafiqAimiisa BusinessstudentfromtheNationalUniversityof Malaysiawhichislocatedin Bangi, Selangor-about 35km southofKuala Lumpur. Syafiq iscurrentlyundertaking a research project for the Structured Products (SP) desk ofThe Standard Asian Merchant Bank’s securities department. The SP desk is responsiblefor developingand selling structuredproducts:investmentsthatconsist ofa portfolioofsecuritiesandderivatives. Structured productsareinvestment instrumentsthatarecreatedtomeetspecific needs thatcannotbemetfromstandardizedfinancialinstruments.TheproductsoftheSPdeskare tailor-madeandtheyaredevelopedbasedonthe StandardAsian MerchantBank’sniche specializationswhich are Asian listed real estate companies, life sciences companies, and shares.

TheSPdeskofTheStandardAsianMerchantBankhasitsownwebsitethatisprimarilyused toprovideinformationtotheusersofthewebsite.Thewebsitecontainsinformationabout theproductsoffered(e.g.,brochures,legaldocuments,andbid-askspreads),publications, andcontactinformation.Thewebsitecanbeclassifiedasa services-oriented relationship- building website. There are two main groups of website users; financial advisors and institutionalclientsoftheSPdesk.Theyusethewebsitetoexamineproductfeatures,prices oftheproductsofferedbytheSPdesk,andlegalinformation.

For the SP desk, there are several reasons why they have asked Syafiq to undertake a researchproject:

1. Satisfactionwiththewebsitehasneverbeenmeasured.Asaresult,theSPdeskdoes notknowhowtheusersexperiencethewebsite.Thecurrentcontentandlayoutof thewebsitearebasedonassumptionsofwhatusersarelookingforonthewebsite. Forthisreason,thewebsitemaycontainelementsdeemedunnecessarybytheusers andit mightlackfeaturesthatareimportanttotheusers.

2. Usersofthewebsiteonlyspendasmallamountoftimeonthewebsite.In2011,

morethan70%(75.4%)ofthevisitorsspentlessthan30secondsonthewebsiteof theSPdesk(AWStats,2011).Theproductsofferedatthewebsitearequitecomplex and clients often have a lack of knowledge concerning Structured Products. Therefore it is desirable to encourage website users to spend more time on the website.

3. Thewebsiteisnotself-explanatory.Consequently,peoplecontactemployeesofthe SPdesktoaskforexplanationandclarification.Thisisatimeconsumingprocessthat isrelativelyexpensiveforasmalldesk.

Basedonpreliminaryresearch,thefollowingproblemstatementwascreatedbySyafiq:

“WhatelementsareofimportanceindrivingSatisfactionwiththe WebsiteintheAsian investmentbankingindustry,towhatextentdothesevariablesinfluenceSatisfaction with theWebsite,andhowcantheresultsofthisstudybeusedtocreateawebsitefortheSP deskthat isself-explanatory, thatpeopleuseas theirmain informationsourceand that websiteusersspendmoretimeon?”

SeveralresearchmethodsareusedbySyafiqtoanswertheproblemstatement.Inorderto determinethevariablesrelevanttohisstudySyafiqhascarriedoutaliteraturereviewand face-to-face interviews. Based on the literature review and a rigorous analysis of the interviewsSyafiqhasdevelopedthefollowingconceptualmodel.

Informationquality

Systemquality


Interactivity

SatisfactionwiththeWebsite

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Systemdesignquality

Syafiqnowwantstocollectquantitativedatatobeabletotestthismodelwithmultivariate regressionanalysis.In ordertocollectthesequantitativedata,Syafiqis currentlybusywith designingasurveywhichhewantstopostonline.Hehasdevelopedthefollowingtablethatshouldhelphimtooperationalizetheconstructsinhisconceptualmodel.

Table 1:Overview oftheConstructs/variables inmyModel,“Subconstructs”, andSurvey

Questions

Information quality

Variable
    

Definition
    

Surveyquestions

Informationcontent
    

Referstothecontent ofthe information providedbythewebsite (Hernandezet al. 2009)
    

Therangeofinformationishigh.

The information isapplicabletothewebsite’sactivities(zie relevance).

The information isdetailed (zieaccuracy).

The maingoalofthe informationonthewebsiteisclear.

Thewebsiteprovidesin-depthinformation.

The information onthewebsiteisinformative toyourusage. The information onthewebsiteisvaluable toyour usage. The information onthewebsiteisoftheappropriatedetail.The contentonthewebsitesupportsitsintendedpurpose.

Relevance
    

Referstothedegreetowhichthe

information meetstheneeds ofthe websiteuser (Muylle etal.2004).
    

Thewebsiteprovidesinformation thatexactlyfits your needs.

The information isapplicabletothewebsite’sactivities.

The information inthewebsiteisrelevant.

The information inthewebsiteistothepoint.

The information inthewebsitedoesnothelpmeatall.

Up-to-date
    

Referstothecurrencyofthe information onthewebsite (McKinneyetal. 2002).
    

Information isalwaysupdated inthesite.

Thewebsiteprovidesup-to-dateinformation.

The information iscurrent.

Yougetthe information youneedintime.

Understandability
    

Referstotheclearnessand goodnessoftheinformation (Cheung and Lee2005, 2008).
    

Thecontentofthewebsiteiseasytounderstand. The meaning ofthe informationisclear.

The information inthewebsiteisclear to me.

The information inthewebsiteispresentedclearly. The information isclear in meaning.

The information iseasytocomprehend.

Ingeneral, information onthewebsite isunderstandablefor youto use.

Completeness
    

Referstothecompletenessofthe

information onthewebsite(Muylle

etal. 2004)
    

Thewebsiteprovidescomprehensiveinformation.

Thewebsiteprovidessufficientinformation. The information inthewebsiteiscomplete.

The information inthewebsiteissufficientlydetailed.

Reliability
    

Referstothedegreeofconsistency anddependabilityoftheinformation onthewebsite(Cheung andLee

2005,2008; McKinneyetal.2002).
    

Thewebsiteprovidesinformation that youtrust. The information onthewebsiteistrustworthy. The information onthewebsiteis credible.

Ingeneral, information onthewebsite isreliableforyoutouse.

Accuracy
    

Referstothedegreetowhichthe information onthewebsiteis perceivedtobeprecise(Muylle etal.

2004;Zhangand vonDran2002).
    

Thewebsiteprovidesaccurateinformation. Thewebsiteprovidespreciseinformation. The information onthewebsiteisdetailed. The information onthewebsiteisaccurate.

The information onthewebsiteisnotprecise. I canrelyonthe information inthewebsite.

The information inthewebsiteissufficientlydetailed.

Usefulness
    

Referstothedegreetowhichthe user believesthattheinformation onthewebsitewill enhancetheir decision (Cheung and Lee2005,

2008; McKinneyetal.2002)
    

The information onthewebsiteisuseful.

The information onthewebsiteisinformative toyour usage.

The information onthewebsiteisvaluable toyour usage.

Ingeneral, information onblackboard isusefulfor youtouse.

Systemquality

Variable
    

Definition
    

Surveyquestions

Navigability
    

Referstothe easewithwhichusers

canfindtheneededinformation on thewebsite(Schmidt etal. 2007; EvansandKing 1999*).
    

I findthesite easytonavigate.

Thenavigation linksarestated in everypage.

Itiseasytofindtheinformation I needfromthiswebsite.

The organizationofthecontentsofthissite makesit easyfor meto know whereI amwhennavigatingit.

You obtaindesired information quickly. Itiseasyto locate theinformation.

Thewebsite isbeing easytogobackandforthbetweenpages. Thewebsite isprovidinga few clickstolocateinformation.

Ingeneral, thewebsite iseasytonavigate.

Access
    

Referstotheavailabilityofthe websiteatall times(Cheung and Lee

2005; 2008)
    

Thewebsite isresponsivetoyour request.

Ingeneral, thewebsiteprovidesgoodaccess.

Thewebsite isavailable atall times.

Thewebsitecanbeaccessedusingdifferentbrowsers(OS).

Easeof use
    

Referstothe easewithwhichthe website canbeused(Tarafdar and Zhang 2006).
    

I findthesite easytooperate.

Thewebsite iseasytounderstand.

Thiswebsite issimple touse, evenwhenusing itfor thefirsttime. Thewebsite iseasytouse.

Thewebsite isuser-friendly.

Itisdifficulttooperatethewebsite.

Ingeneral, thewebsite isuser friendly.

Thewebsite iswell organized.

I findthewebsite easytouse.

Speed
    

Referstothedegreetowhichthe websiteusersperceivethewebsite tobefastorslow(Muylle etal.

2004).
    

I findthesitedownloadtimeacceptable. Thespeedofdisplaybetweenpagesishigh.

There isverylittle timebetween myrequest forpagesandhavingthe pagesdisplayed onmy computer.

Therateatwhich informationisdisplayed isfast. Thesitedoesn’twastemytime.

Thewebsite istimeconsuming.

Itdoesnottake muchtimetogetfromoneplace inthewebsiteto

another.

Thewebsite isfast.

Thewebsite isquicklyloadingall thetextandgraphics.

WhenI usethewebsitethere is verylittle waitingtimebetweenmy actions andthewebsite’sresponse.

Thewebsite loadsquickly.

Thewebsitetakeslongtooload.

Security
    

Referstotheusersperceptions’ of thewebsite’sreliabilityandsafety (AwamlehandFernandes2005).
    

Youfeelthewebsite issecure.

Thewebsitehasprovisionsfor user authentication.

Thewebsitehasan informationpolicy.

Thewebsitehasadequatesecurityfeatures.

Privacy
    

Referstothe elementsthatprovide websiteusersasenseof privacy (Schmidt etal. 2008).
    

I feel like myprivacyisprotectedatthiswebsite.

Systemaccuracy
    

Referstotheaccuracyofthewebsite inprovidinginformationto itsusers.
    

Thesystem isaccurate.

Areyousatisfiedwith theaccuracyofthesystem?

Systemreliability
    

Referstothereliabilityofthe website inprovidinginformationto itsusers.
    

Yougetthe informationthatyourequested onthewebsite.

Interactivity

Variable
    

Definition
    

Surveyquestions

Customersupport
    

Referstothefacilitiesand

communication channelsthata companyofferstoestablish direct contactwithusersinordertohelp themwithquestions or problems(ChenandYen2004; Hernandez etal.

2009;Wan2000; Wolfinbargerand

Gilly2003**).
    

I cansendmyfeedbackaboutthesite.

Think ofall thepossible waysthat you cancontactour bank whenyou needto. Based onthisinformation andonyour ownpreferences, how easydoyouthink it istocontactus?

Youaresatisfiedwiththecustomersupportprovidedbythewebsite. Youaresatisfiedwiththeafter-salessupportprovidedbythewebsite. Thewebsiteunderstands your problemsandrequests.

Thewebsiterespondstoyour requestsfast enough.

Thewebsiteprovidesthepersonalized customer supportyouneed.

Thewebsiterespondstoyour problemsandrequestspromptly. Thecompanyiswillingandreadytorespondto customer needs. Whenyouhaveaproblem, thewebsiteshowsasincere interest in solvingit.

Inquiriesareansweredpromptly.

Customisation
    

Referstotheabilityofwebsitesto presentcustomized informationto fulfill the individual needs ofusers (Tarafdar andZhang 2006; Chenand Hitt2002***; Greer andMurtaza

2003****)
    

Thewebsiteprovidesinformation thatexactlyfits your needs. Thewebsitecanunderstandwhat you need viainteractive communication.

Thewebsitehaspersonalization characteristics. Thewebsite offerscustomizedinformation.

The levelofpersonalization isaboutright, nottoo muchortoolittle. Thewebsiteprovidestheprecise information youneed.

Thewebsiteprovidesreportsthat seemtobejustabout exactlywhat youneed.

Thewebsiteallowsmeto interactwithit toreceivetailored information.

I can interactwiththewebsite in ordertogetinformationtailored to my specificneeds.

Control
    

Referstothe featuresonthewebsite that influence theusers’sense of control(WolfinbargerandGilly

2000)*****.
    

Thesiteprovidesvalueadded features.

WhenI amusingthiswebsite, I feelthatI am incontrolofwhatI can

do.

Theuser controlstheorder or sequenceofinformation access. Theuser controlshowfasttogo throughthewebsite.

Theuser controlsopportunitiesfor interaction.

Userscontrolthedifficultyleveloftheinformation accessed. Thewebsitehasfeatures,whichhelpmeaccomplish mytask.

Systemdesignquality

Variable
    

Definition
    

Surveyquestions

Visualappeal
    

Referstotheaestheticsofthe website(Loiacono etal. 2002).
    

Thesitehasanattractiveappearance. Thewebsitehasanattractivelayout.

I like thelayoutofthewebsite.

The layoutofthewebsiteis visuallycomforting. The layoutofthewebsiteisannoying.

Thewebsite isvisuallyattractive.

Thewebsitehasanattractivescreenlayout. Thewebsite isvisuallypleasing.

Thewebsitedisplaysvisuallypleasing design. Thewebsite isvisuallyappealing.

Innovativeness
    

Referstotheuniquenessand creativityofthewebsite(Loiacono et al. 2002).
    

Thedesignisappropriatetothetypeofthesite. Thewebsite isinnovative.

Thewebsitedesignisinnovative. Thewebsite iscreative.

Legibility
    

Referstothe easeofreading ofthe

information onthewebsite(Palmer

2002).
    

Thesitepresentsthe information inanappropriateformat.

The outputformat iseasytoread.

The layoutofthe information iseasytounderstand. Thewebsite iswell organized.

Thewebsitehasasimple layoutfor itscontent. Thewebsitehasacleardesign.

The information onthewebsiteiseasytoread. Thetext on thewebsite iseasytoread.

Consistentimage
    

Referstotheconsistencyofthe imageprojectedbythewebsitewith the imageofthefirm (Loiacono et al.

2002).
    

Thedesignisappropriatetothetypeofwebsite. I findthesitehasconsistentpagelayout.

Youaresatisfiedwiththe imageofthewebsite.

The companyto which the website belongshasa well-knownbrand. The website projectsanimage consistentwiththe company’simage. Thewebsite fitswithmyimageofthecompany.

Thewebsite’simage matchesthat ofthecompany.

.gif">SatisfactionwiththeWebsite

Satisfactionwiththe

website
    

Definition
    

Surveyquestions

    

Thediscrepancybetweena customer’sexpectations andperceptions of performance
    

Ingeneralterms, I amsatisfiedwiththewaythatthiswebsitehas carried out myactions.

Ingeneral,Iam satisfied withtheservicethatIreceivedfromthewebsite. Pleasethinkofyouroverallexperience withthewebsite.Onascaleof1-7,overall,howsatisfiedareyouwiththewebsite?

Youaresatisfiedwith thewebsite.

Note.The“surveyquestions”inthe last columnarequestionsfromvariousstudiesonwebsitequality.I havetriedtofind

asmanyquestionsas Icould.Everysinglesurveyquestionis takenoutof(oneof)thepaperspresentedinthereference list.

REFERENCELIST

AwamlehRaedandCedwynFernandes(2005),“Internetbanking:anempiricalinvestigation intotheextentofadoptionbybanksandthedeterminantsofcustomersatisfaction intheUnitedArabEmirates,”JournalofInternetBankingandCommerce,10(1),

0509-05.

Chen,KuanchinandDavidC.Yen(2004),“Improvingthequalityofonlinepresencethrough interactivity,”Information&Management,42,217-26.

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AttributePerformanceonSatisfaction:AnEmpiricalStudy,”inproceedingsofthe

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QUESTIONS

1. Measurement is the assignment of numbers to characteristics (or attributes) of

objects accordingto apre-specified set ofrules. Describe the objectand characteristicsofSyafiq’sstudy.

2. The measurement ofmore abstract andsubjective characteristics (orattributes – such for instance the attributes in Syafiq’s study) is more difficult than the

measurement of other, moretangibleattributessuchasweight,length, gender, age, and marital status.Whyis that?

3. Onewayoftappingmoreabstractandsubjectiveattributesisoperationalizingthese attributes.

a. Whatisoperationalization?

b. Describetheprocessofoperationalizingvariables.

4. BasedonareviewoftheliteratureSyafiqhasdevelopedatable(Table1)thatshould helphimtooperationalizethe variablesof his conceptualmodel.Usethistableto discusstheattribute‘InformationQuality’intermsofdimensionsandelements.In other words, which dimensions of ‘Information Quality’ has Syafiq found in the literatureand howhavethesedimensionsfurtherbeenbrokenintoelementsby researcherswhohaveinvestigatedthisissueinthepast?

5. Syafiqcoulddecidetousethesurveyquestionshehasfoundintheliteratureasa

basis for hisquestionnaire. Isit,ingeneral, agood ora badideatouseexisting scales?Why?

Reference:

Sekaran, U., & Bougie, R. (2013). Research methods for business: A skill building approach (6th ed.). Chichester, United Kingdom: Wiley. ISBN: 978-1-119-94225-2.