Dynamic interaction in decision support

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Dynamic interaction in decision support

  1. 1. 74 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON SYSTEMS, MAN, AND CYBERNETICS: SYSTEMS, VOL. 43, NO. 1, JANUARY 2013 Dynamic Interaction in Decision Support: Effects on Perceived Diagnosticity and Confidence in Unstructured Domains Brandon A. Beemer and Dawn G. Gregg Abstract—The evolution of eCommerce over the past decade the capabilities and functionality of this new technology [33],has resulted in a wide range of tools that enable consumers to [71], [76], [80] without considering whether these applicationsmake better decisions about the products or services that they are actually useful to the user. The goal of this research isare purchasing. One class of tools that are now widely used ina variety of eCommerce domains are mashups, which combine to provide a better understanding of how these applicationsdisparate sources of information (e.g., price, product reviews, influence confidence, intention, and decision quality.and seller reviews) to support buyer decision making. Previous Decision science literature has shown that the humanacademic studies that examined decision support tools for eCom- decision-making process in unstructured domains (e.g.,merce domains have focused on the impacts on information search, eCommerce purchasing decisions) is dynamic [45], [54], [79].consideration set size, and decision quality. This paper discussesdynamic interaction, namely, the degree to which a user can Recently, information systems (IS) researchers have begunrevisit and revise their inputs and consider alternative solutions evaluating decision support system’s (DSS) support of thisduring a decision. The relationships between dynamic interaction, type of dynamic decision process (e.g., [7] and [9]). Onediagnosticity, confidence, and intention were investigated in an DSS feature that has emerged to support dynamic decisionexperiment. The results of the study indicated that increasing processes is dynamic interaction [6]. The measurement scaledynamic interaction increased the perceived diagnosticity (i.e., theextent to which the user believes that the tool is useful to evaluate for dynamic interaction helps researchers quantify the impacta product) of the decision support tool and the overall confidence of allowing a user to revisit and revise their inputs as theyin the decision. In addition, a post hoc analysis of decision quality consider alternative solutions during the decision process. Re-suggests that increased levels of dynamic interaction also improve searchers investigating the impact of dynamic interaction inthe overall quality of the decision made. knowledge-based systems (KBSs) have found that it increases Index Terms—Calibration, confidence, dynamic interaction, both the perceived reliability and the perceived usefulness of theperceived diagnosticity, Web 2.0 mashups, end-user programming. system, ultimately leading to an increased intention to use the system [9], [60]. I. I NTRODUCTION The initial research on iterative decision support in the IS domain [9] raises many questions about how dynamic inter-T HE INTERNET plays an increasingly important role in both the dissemination and aggregation of knowledge.Today, many decision makers begin and end their decision- action influences the decision process and whether it plays an important role in eCommerce decision-making tools. Re- searchers have found that mashups are used iteratively, allowingmaking process online. This is particularly true for eCommerce users to switch from aligning and cleaning up the data to usingpurchase decisions. eCommerce has experienced steady growth the data as they get to know the data better over time [34].over the past decade and is now over a $100 billion industry This makes mashups ideal for studying dynamic interaction[51]. The growth in eCommerce has resulted in a wide range in the context of eCommerce decision support. In order forof tools that enable consumers to make better decisions about information technology (IT) researchers to fully understandthe products or services that they are purchasing. One class the impact of mashup tools on iterative decision processes,of tools that are now widely used in a variety of eCommerce it is imperative that we first understand how they influencedomains are mashups, which combine disparate sources of user’s perceptions throughout the underlying decision process.information (e.g., price, product reviews, and seller reviews) to Specifically, this paper considers whether incorporating dy-support buyer decision making [52], [55], [59], [69]. To date, namic interaction into a decision support tool, like a mashup,much of the research on mashups has focused on extending has an impact on diagnosticity and confidence. Examining the influence of dynamic interaction on diagnosticity can provide insights into how the ability to look at information iteratively Manuscript received March 3, 2011; revised July 25, 2011; accepted and recombine it in different ways influences the perceivedDecember 27, 2011. Date of publication September 12, 2012; date of current usefulness of the information itself. Confidence has significantversion December 12, 2012. This paper was recommended by Associate EditorW. Pedrycz. implications when it comes to DSS, as researchers have found B. A. Beemer is with McKesson Provider Technologies, San Francisco, CA that the design of a DSS can have a significant impact on the94104 USA (e-mail: brandon.beemer@gmail.com). user’s confidence in the quality of their decision, causing them D. G. Gregg is with the University of Colorado, Denver, CO 80204 USA(e-mail: dawn.gregg@ucdenver.edu). to potentially become overconfident or underconfident in the Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TSMCA.2012.2192106 decision being made [37]. 2168-2216/$31.00 © 2012 IEEE
  2. 2. BEEMER AND GREGG: DYNAMIC INTERACTION IN DECISION SUPPORT 75 The purpose of this study is to evaluate how dynamic inter-action [9] is used in the context of eCommerce mashups. Theremainder of this paper is structured as follows. First, a reviewof eCommerce decision support mashups and end-user mashupliterature are presented, and the theoretical background sup-porting dynamic interaction is discussed. Next, five hypothe-ses are developed involving dynamic interaction, diagnosticity,confidence, and intention. Then, an experiment is designed andconducted to evaluate the research model. The results of the Fig. 1. Substrata of dynamic interaction [9].experiment and a post hoc analysis of decision quality are thenpresented. This paper concludes with a discussion of the study’s Using the control theory, Beemer and Gregg [9] developedcontributions and implications for future research. a measurement scale to quantify the support of iterative de- cision making in decision tools that operate in unstructured domains. This paper defined dynamic interaction as a formative II. T HEORETICAL BACKGROUND second-order construct [36], with the following three substrata: Prior researchers have found that, when decision tools are ap- 1) inclusive; 2) incremental; and 3) iterative [6]. Inclusive refersplied to unstructured domains, their inability to justify solutions to the system’s ability to include user input into the KBS’scan result in low confidence in the decision recommendations cognition process. Incremental refers to the ability of the system[3], [23], [24]. There are two main schools of thought on how to break larger problems into smaller more manageable piecesto overcome this lack of confidence. The first focuses on devel- which are incrementally updated and then aggregated togetheroping more robust explanation facilities to justify the system’s [49]. Finally, iterative refers to the decision tool’s supportsolution in unstructured domains [3]. The second declares that for an iterative decision-making process [9]. Fig. 1 shows a“the need for interaction between the system and the user has conceptualization of dynamic interaction.increased, mainly, to enhance the acceptability of the reasoning The inclusion of dynamic interaction in the decision-makingprocess and of the solutions proposed by the system” [24, p. 1]. tool fundamentally changes the way the users evaluate infor-Through dynamic interaction with the user, the system is able mation and influences their perceived reliability and perceivedto track with the user’s iterative cognition process in solving usefulness of the system [9]. However, it also has the potentialunstructured decisions and involve the user’s opinion in the to change the user’s perceptions of the information provided bysystem’s logic, which gives them a sense of ownership (and the tool as well as their evaluation of the decisions made as aultimately confidence) in the solution [42], [54]. result of using a more interactive decision support tool. B. End-User Programming in MashupsA. Dynamic Interaction and Unstructured Decision Support Mashups are ideal for investigating dynamic interaction in Dynamic interaction’s underpinnings are found in system eCommerce domains because they support iterative user inter-control theory, which spans many academic disciplines ranging faces that track with the user’s iterative decision process [6].from engineering to economics and is primarily focused on As with the iterative nature of DSS designed for unstructuredinfluencing the behavior of dynamic systems [47]. Specifi- domains, researchers have postulated that, when developingcally stated, “Control theory is the area of application-oriented mashups for unstructured domains, end-users “actually workmathematics that deals with the basic principles underlying the iteratively on data, switching from aligning and cleaning up theanalysis and design of control systems. To control an object data to using the data and back, as they get to know the data bet-means to influence its behavior so as to achieve a desired goal.” ter over time” , p. 13[34]. However, previous mashup research[72, p. 1]. The majority of control theory applications incor- has focused on extending the capabilities and functionality ofporate some variation of a feedback loop. Control feedback this new technology [2], [8], [44] as opposed to evaluatingloops have three general phases that include the following: the dynamic decision-making processes that mashups support.1) inputting values; 2) processing input and calculating output; As mashups have begun to mature, academic researchers haveand 3) evaluating output and, if necessary, iterating back to recently identified the need to evaluate mashups in businessstep 1) and adjusting input values [65]. domains such as decision support (e.g., [77]). Walczak et al. Researchers have found that KBS can be effective in sup- [77] conducted an eCommerce decision experiment to compareporting unstructured decisions when they are designed with a traditional search engine to a mashup in terms of confidencefeedback loops, which allow the user to influence the behavior in the decision, time, ease of finding information, and knowl-of the system, so as to achieve the desired solution by evaluating edge acquisition; however, they did not explicitly address thealternative solutions [72]. One example is a traditional KBS iterative processes inherent in mashup decision making.that incorporated an iterative interface designed to help logistics A major challenge in creating mashups is to seamlessly pack-professionals achieve more efficient shipment processes [38], age mashup technologies in such a way that nontechnical users[48]. In the eCommerce domain, interactive decision aids have can easily and effectively create mashup applications. Two dif-produced strong positive effects on both the quality and effi- ferent approaches are commonly taken in addressing (enabling)ciency of the decision-making process [29]. end-user mashup development. The first approach is passive
  3. 3. 76 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON SYSTEMS, MAN, AND CYBERNETICS: SYSTEMS, VOL. 43, NO. 1, JANUARY 2013by nature and focuses on designing plugins that work with the D. Consumer Confidenceuser’s current browser to observe what the user is viewing and Confidence is another important construct essential for un-to suggest related sources for potential mashing (e.g., [19], [20], derstanding the impact of a DSS on the decision-making pro-and [67]). A second approach to end-user mashup development cess. Confidence is generally described as a state of beingis proactive by nature and is necessary when the mashup pro- certain either that a decision is correct or that a chosen coursecess becomes more complicated (e.g., process modeling or ad- of action is the best or most effective. Consumer confidence hasvanced interface integration) [56]. Tuchinda et al. [74] present substantial practical implications as an individual’s confidencea tool that enables users to develop mashups in complicated in a belief or decision has been shown to influence one’sintegration domains by first providing examples of what the end decision process [18]. Researchers have found that confidencemashup should look like; the tool then aims to mimic the format is positively related to decision satisfaction [41].of the end result, allowing for mashups to be developed by end- Koriat and Goldsmith [43] found that confidence affects anusers who do not have programming experience. Tatemura et al. individual’s memory processes as their subjective confidence[73] take a similar “by example” approach in developing a tool determines whether they are willing to report information fromthat allows users to mashup disparate data sources by creating memory. Similarly, Russo and Shoemaker [66] indicate thatabstracted target schemas that are populated based on examples one’s confidence in the quality of a particular decision canprovided by the user. Mashroom is another end-user mashing affect both the selection and implementation stages of theapplication that is based on the nested relational model and al- decision-making process. Both Koriat and Goldsmith [43] andlows users to iteratively construct mashups through continuous Russo and Shoemaker [66] describe situations of undercon-refinement [78]. fidence which can significantly decrease a decision maker’s This study focuses on proactive mashups, namely, websites willingness to act on a decision.that are devoted to the mashup process. The advantage of using Another problem in consumer decision situations is overcon-these preexisting mashup websites is that there are hundreds of fidence. The overconfidence effect is a well-established biasdifferent mashups available at these sites that support differing from psychology in which someone’s subjective confidencelevels of dynamic interaction with the user. in their judgments is reliably greater than their objective ac- curacy, particularly when confidence is relatively high [12],C. Diagnosticity [60]. Researchers have found that people tend to exhibit greater overconfidence if the task is difficult [40], [68], [82]. Thus, Diagnosticity is a well-documented research stream in the overconfidence can be a significant problem in an unstructuredconsumer behavior literature. This research examines user’s decision domain, like eCommerce. Both overconfidence andbeliefs about the usefulness of particular information for mak- underconfidence are problems in DSS design [37].ing a decision [53]. The principles of diagnosticity [22], [50]suggest that the likelihood that information is used for deci-sion making is as follows: 1) positively associated with the III. H YPOTHESIS D EVELOPMENTaccessibility of information in memory; 2) positively associatedwith the diagnosticity/usefulness of information in memory; Dynamic interaction research suggests that the ability to useand 3) negatively associated with the diagnosticity/usefulness a decision tool to iteratively develop and evaluate solutions forand accessibility of alternative information [22]. Understanding unstructured problems can impact a wide variety of decisiondiagnosticity in DSS domains is important because without outcomes [9]. This is similar to phase theorem from decisiona significant level of diagnosticity, a DSS is less likely to science theory, which identifies the distinct phases that indi-effectively support the decision-making process. viduals go through when solving complicated or unstructured Jiang and Benbasat [35] examined diagnosticity in an eCom- problems: 1) problem identification; 2) assimilating necessarymerce context. They defined diagnosticity as a consumer’s per- information; 3) developing possible solutions; 4) solution eval-ception of how helpful a website is in fostering understanding uation; and 5) solution selection [13], [79]. Individuals itera-of the products being listed. They found that presentation for- tively repeat these phases and compare new information to theirmat influences perceived diagnosticity. For example, a virtual current knowledge of the decision domain [7], [54].product experience (VPE), in which consumers are empowered Researchers have suggested that, when developing mashups,with visual and functional control [35] was shown to increase users work iteratively on the data as they get to know the dataperceived diagnosticity. In addition, product presentation in a better over time [34]. This process maps directly to phasesvideo-with-narration format was also found to increase diag- 2, 3, and 4 from phase theorem. Prior research has foundnosticity as compared to video-without-narration or a static- that the ability to iteratively use a decision tool to evaluatepicture format [35]. Researchers have also examined the impact alternatives has a significant influence on perceived reliabilityof diagnosticity on user confidence in the decision through and perceived usefulness (e.g., [9]). An antecedental constructpostpurchase product evaluations. Kempf and Smith [39] in- similar to perceived reliability is diagnosticity, which refersdicate that consumers are more likely to be confident in their to the degree that retrieved information is useful to decisiondecisions if their product experience is more diagnostic. More makers developing reliable judgments [53]. In the domain ofrecently, researchers have found that perceived diagnosticity of eCommerce, diagnosticity can be further defined as “the extentthe website positively influences users’ confidence calibration to which a consumer believes that the shopping experienceand users’ intention to purchase [31]. is helpful to evaluate a product” [35, p. 111]. In general,
  4. 4. BEEMER AND GREGG: DYNAMIC INTERACTION IN DECISION SUPPORT 77diagnosticity is high whenever the consumer feels that theinformation allows him or her to categorize the product/serviceclearly into one group (e.g., high quality or low quality) [11].As such, it is hypothesized that the ability to inclusively,incrementally, and iteratively evaluate mashup informationthrough dynamic interaction will positively influence perceiveddiagnosticity. H1: The user’s ability to iteratively develop the mashup through dynamic interaction will have a positive influ- ence on perceived diagnosticity. The influence of diagnosticity on confidence and sat- Fig. 2. Research model. isfaction is well documented. For example, Lynch et al. [50] found that the extent to which a decision maker can evaluate a product will determine their confidence of the product [28]. As such, it is hypothesized that in their evaluation. Similarly, Kempf and Smith [39] the mashup’s ability to track with the user’s iterative found that the more diagnostic (amount of informa- decision-making process through dynamic interaction tion available) an individual’s product evaluation is, will have a positive influence on the user’s intention to the more confident they are in their decision. As such, use the mashup. these higher perceptions of diagnosticity are believed H3: The user’s ability to iteratively develop the mashup to strengthen a decision maker’s beliefs in their de- through dynamic interaction will have a positive influ- cision [35]. Researchers have observed that an inter- ence on their intention to use the mashup. face with greater diagnosticity provides the user with Additionally, diagnosticity (the amount of infor- more information cues and thus a better understanding mation a decision maker possesses) is believed to of product information, enhancing the user’s cognitive influence a user’s intention to use the information. evaluation of the product [35]. Research also suggests Accessibility–diagnosticity research states that the that confidence is positively related to the quality of probability that information is used for decision making the decision [41]. Koriat and Goldsmith [43] found is influenced by the following: 1) the accessibility of that participant’s willingness to participate was based the information in memory; 2) the accessibility of alter- upon their confidence in the accuracy of their answers native information in memory; and 3) the diagnosticity and thus influenced the participants overall accuracy. In of the information compared to alternative information eCommerce, confidence in item attributes [27] and item [22]. If the information is more diagnostic, it is more choice [32] is related to consumer product satisfaction. likely to be used in decision making. In eCommerce In other words, if the consumer is able to thoroughly domains, a website’s diagnosticity has been conceptu- evaluate a product, satisfaction with the product should alized as the cognitive belief in the website along with be inherently present in the user’s level of confidence in other beliefs such as compatibility and enjoyment [35]. their selection of the product. Therefore, if a website has higher perceived diagnos- H2: The perceived diagnosticity of the mashup will have a ticity and thus is more helpful to the consumer (by positive influence on the user’s decision confidence. providing more information) when evaluating a product, Initially, researchers postulated that decision makers the consumer is more likely to use the website. execute the steps of the phase theorem in a sequential H4: The diagnosticity of the mashup will have a positive linear fashion [79]. Later, it was discovered that this influence on the user’s intention to use the mashup. is only true in certain decision domains. In structured A participant’s willingness to use a tool is influenced decision domains that have a definable “right” solution, by their confidence in the accuracy of the information decision makers do execute the phase theorem linearly, provided by the tool and, thus, their confidence in their much like a decision tree [13], [79]. However, in un- decision when using the tool [43]. In purchasing deci- structured domains that contain outcome uncertainty, sions, confidence in item attributes [27] and item choice the decision maker iterates through steps 2, 3, and 4 [32] is related to consumer product satisfaction. When of the phase theorem by assimilating new informa- a consumer is able to thoroughly evaluate a product, tion, developing alternative solutions, and comparing they are more likely to experience confidence in their the alternatives [54]. This process is repeated until the decision and thus are more likely to use the decision following occurs: 1) The decision maker experiences tool which improves their decision confidence [27], information overload and cannot assimilate any more [32], [43]. Therefore, it is hypothesized that increased information, or 2) a time constraint on the decision is confidence will have a positive influence on the user’s reached requiring the decision to be made [54]. In the intention to use the mashup. The proposed research domain of eCommerce, the decision maker experiences model for this study is shown in Fig. 2. uncertainty with purchasing decisions because there is H5: Increased confidence in the user’s decision will have a a risk that the seller is being untruthful about the quality positive influence on their intention to use the mashup.
  5. 5. 78 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON SYSTEMS, MAN, AND CYBERNETICS: SYSTEMS, VOL. 43, NO. 1, JANUARY 2013 IV. E XPERIMENT D ESIGN TABLE I E XPERIMENT D ESIGN To evaluate the research model shown in Fig. 2, a 4 × 1online research experiment was designed. In the experiment,subjects made a consumer-purchasing decision using an onlinedecision support mashup and then answered survey questionsabout their perceptions of the decision process.A. eCommerce Mashups Web 2.0 is a new trend for Web applications that emphasizesservices, participation, scalability, remixability, and collectiveintelligence. Since Web 2.0 applications facilitate user involve-ment in contributing to information sources, there has beena vast increase in the amount of information and knowledgesources on the Web. The amount of information now availableon the Web can lead to information overload and an inability to The first set of mashup tools consisted of mashuplike storeapply the best information available to a particular decision- interfaces that lacked dynamic interaction and are not truemaking task. eCommerce is a good example of where this mashups because only single sellers are included in the user in-problem is prevalent, as consumers desire information access terface. The second grouping consisted of mashups that includewhile making decisions, and such information access produces multiple sellers. The next grouping consisted of mashups thata more satisfied consumer [45]. include both multiple sellers and have iterative functionality. Developers have begun developing eCommerce decision Finally, the last grouping consisted of mashups that includesupport mashups, to address information overload, and making multiple sellers, have iterative remashability, and provide in-relevant information available to the consumer. eCommerce cremental comparison mashup functionality. Two real-worldmashups can be categorized by the decision they are designed mashup sites were included in each of the experiment’s strata.to support. The first decision is “what to buy?” 109things.com Table I contains the mashups and the corresponding dynamicis a mashup interface for Amazon.com designed to support interaction functionality of each substratum.this decision and allows users to select numerous items andthen compare them to one another. The second decision is B. Measurement Scales“where to buy?” Ugux.com/shopping is a mashup that allowsusers to select items and then to compare Amazon.com and The measures for diagnosticity were taken from the JiangEBay.com in terms of price, warranty, and shipping. Recently, and Benbasat’s [35] study on VPE. Items on confidence weredevelopers have begun designing mashups to address both of derived from the work of Hess et al. [31] on calibration andthese decisions. Earlymisser.com is an example of such and confidence in online shopping environments. Items for inten-enables the user to evaluate multiple products from multiple tion were taken from the well-established intention scale thatsellers. In addition to classifying eCommerce mashups by the is a part of the technology acceptance model [13]. The actualquestion they address, they can also be classified by the mashup measurement items for these constructs are listed in Table II.functionality they obtain. Table III contains the measurement items that were derived A review of 568 eCommerce mashups, obtained from pro- for dynamic interaction from Beemer and Gregg [9]. Sincegrammableweb.com/mashups, revealed three different “masha- dynamic interaction is a relatively new construct in IS literature,bility” traits prevalent in eCommerce mashups: including and because this study is applying this construct to a newmultiple sellers, incremental comparison, and the ability to domain (eCommerce mashups), two pretests were conducted toiteratively incorporate different decision attributes. Depending refine and validate the derived measurement items. The preteston the context and what the mashup is designed for, mashups participants consisted of ten IT professionals.can contain one, two, or all three of these traits. Bestsport- The purpose of the first pretest was to evaluate internaldeals.com is an example of a mashup that includes multiple sell- validity, by having participants perform a substratum clusteringers. A more complicated mashup is Pricegrabber.com, which procedure to group like items. Participants were given threeincludes both a multiple seller mashup and iterative remasha- envelopes, each containing the name and definition of one ofbility. Finally, Mysimon.com and Shopper.com are two of the dynamic interaction’s three substrata. Next, they were givenmost complex mashups which include multiple seller mashups, 15 index cards (each containing one of the scale items) anditerative remashability, and incremental comparison mashup were instructed to match each item with one of the substratafunctionality. Shopper.com’s comparison mashup functionality definitions. A fourth envelope was provided labeled, “does notallows the user to view the similarities and differences between fit anywhere,” so that participants could discard items that theymultiple products. Based on the review of the 568 eCommerce felt did not match anywhere. The categorization data were thenmashups at programmableweb.com, eight different mashups cluster analyzed by placing in the same cluster the items thatwere selected (two mashups for each of the four substrata of six or more respondents placed in the same category [10].the experiment) as illustrated in Table I. “The clusters are considered to be a reflection of the domain
  6. 6. BEEMER AND GREGG: DYNAMIC INTERACTION IN DECISION SUPPORT 79 TABLE II D ERIVED M EASUREMENT I TEMS FOR D IAGNOSTICITY, C ONFIDENCE , S ATISFACTION , AND I NTENTION TABLE III D ERIVED DYNAMIC I NTERACTION S CALE I TEMSsubstrata for each construct and serve as a basis of assessing Researchers suggest that, when modeling second-order factorcoverage, or representativeness, of the item pools.” [17, p. 325]. models (like dynamic interaction is), each first-order constructItems 3, 4, 6, 11, and 15 did not belong to any cluster and should have an equal number of indicators [14], [16]. Therefore,were thus removed. This left the inclusive, incremental, and the incremental cluster was refined by dropping item seveniterative substrata with three, four, and three items, respectively. because it was the lowest loading indicator for this substratum.
  7. 7. 80 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON SYSTEMS, MAN, AND CYBERNETICS: SYSTEMS, VOL. 43, NO. 1, JANUARY 2013 TABLE IV R ESPONSE B IAS A NALYSIS AND D ESCRIPTIVE S TATISTICS The purpose of the second pretest was to evaluate the sub- one, which align with the four constructs in the hypothesisstrata coverage of the selected mashup tools. To lighten their model (dynamic interaction, diagnosticity, confidence, and in-workload, the pretest participants were split into two equal tention). Additionally, no general factor was apparent in thegroups and were each asked to evaluate four of the eight unrotated factor structure, with the first factor accounting formashups. The first group was asked to evaluate mashups 1–4 less than 33% of the variance. Last, to determine if responsefrom Table I, using the same definitions from the first pretest for bias was present among early and late responders, the meansinclusive, incremental, and iterative, to identify the functional- for each construct were calculated for the first 30 and the lastity that the mashups possessed. The second group was asked to 30 respondents. As illustrated in Table IV, there is no significantperform the same task but was given mashups 5–8 instead. All difference between early and late responders. Furthermore,of the classifications were aggregated, and overall, the pretest three control variables were collected (age, gender, and grad-participants classified the mashups with 80% accuracy in accor- uate versus undergraduate students), but none had significantdance to Table I which suggests that the experiment substrata differences between groupings. Thus, the proactive design ofclassifications were properly assigned in the experiment design. the questionnaire, the results of the post hoc factor analysis, and the analysis of the early–late responders all suggest thatC. Data Collection Procedures common method bias is not a great concern in this study. To conduct the experiment, a hypothetical scenario was cre-ated for purchasing a laptop. This decision domain was selected V. DATA A NALYSISbecause of the following: 1) It is a complex domain that con- Visual PLS, version 1.04b, a partial least squares (PLS)tains several different specifications; 2) it contains uncertainty structural equation modeling (SEM) software package, wasas with any online purchasing decision; and 3) it includes many used to evaluate the hypothesis model. The decision to use PLSmashup sites for purchasing computers. An invitation was sent was based upon several considerations. PLS can be used to es-to 450 undergraduate and graduate students. Again, because of timate models that use both reflective and formative indicatorsthe widespread use of computers in college curriculums, it can [14], allows for modeling latent constructs under conditionsbe assumed that the students are potential laptop consumers. Of of nonnormality [36], and is appropriate for small-to-mediumthe 450 invitations sent, there were 114 respondents yielding sample sizes [15]. A common heuristic used to determine thea 25.3% response rate. There were 73 male respondents and appropriate sample size for a PLS model is to take the depen-41 female respondents, and the average age of all respondents dent construct with the largest number of constructs impactingwas 27. Participants were randomly sent to one of the eight it and then multiply the number of impacting paths by ten [15].mashup tools in Table I and were given a scenario in which Using this heuristic, with intention being influenced by the threethey were asked to use the mashup tool to find a laptop for substrata of dynamic interaction (inclusive, incremental, andunder $650, with 4 GB of RAM and a 2-GHz processor. Upon iterative), diagnosticity, and confidence, the minimum sampleusing the mashup decision tool, the participants were given a size to evaluate the hypothesis model for this study would be 50.survey composed of the revised measurement scale items from Therefore, the sample size of 114 that was collected is adequateTables II and III. Each item was measured with a seven-point for this study.Likert scale. The psychometric properties of the research model were Three steps were taken to first prevent and then evaluate the evaluated by examining item loadings, internal consistency, andexistence of common method bias. First, the online experiment discriminant validity. Researchers suggest that item loadingswas designed to guarantee response anonymity, and the mea- and internal consistencies greater than 0.70 are consideredsurements of predictor and criterion variables were separated acceptable [1]. As can be seen by the shaded cells in Table V,[63]. Second, at the suggestion of Podsakoff and Organ [64], all item loadings surpass this threshold. Internal consistencya post hoc factor analysis, also known as Harmin’s single- is evaluated by a construct’s composite reliability score. Thefactor test, was performed. If common method bias is present, composite reliability scores are located in the leftmost columnwe would expect to see a single factor that emerges from the of Table VI and are more than adequate for each construct.factor analysis that accounts for most of the covariance in the There are two parts to evaluating discriminant validity. First,independent and criterion variables [4]. The results of the factor each item should load higher on its respective construct than onanalysis extracted four factors with eigenvalues greater than the other constructs in the model. Second, the average variance
  8. 8. BEEMER AND GREGG: DYNAMIC INTERACTION IN DECISION SUPPORT 81 TABLE V L OADINGS AND C ROSS L OADINGS Fig. 3. PLS SEM results. TABLE VII S UMMARY OF H YPOTHESIS T ESTS TABLE VI VI. Post Hoc A NALYSIS OF D ECISION I NTERNAL C ONSISTENCY AND D ISCRIMINANT VALIDITY Q UALITY AND C ALIBRATION A shortcoming of the current study and Beemer and Gregg [7] is that the consequential construct “intention” is used in both research models to evaluate the impact of dynamic interaction. Intention is merely an opinion that the user holds as to whether they intend to use the system. Furthermore, even if intention was captured in terms of actual use, there still remains the question of dynamic interaction’s actual effectiveness in terms of improving decision quality. The alignment between an indi-extracted (AVE) for each construct should be higher than vidual’s decision confidence and the quality of their decision isthe interconstruct correlations [1]. In Table V, by comparing referred to as calibration [5], [40], which has received limitedthe shaded cells to the nonshaded cells, we can see that all attention in eCommerce research [31]. To address the short-items load higher on their respective construct than the other coming of using an opinion-oriented consequential construct inconstructs in the research model. Likewise, in Table VI, by “intention,” and to evaluate the existence of calibration, a postcomparing the shaded cells to the nonshaded cells, we can see hoc analysis was performed to evaluate the significance of thethat the AVE for each construct is higher than the interconstruct relationship between confidence and decision quality.correlations without exception. Overall, these two comparisons When completing the survey, the respondents were requiredsuggest that the model has sufficient discriminant validity. to report the make, model, and price of the laptop that The results of the PLS SEM analysis are shown in Fig. 4. As they selected during the decision process. Google Productsprescribed by Beemer and Gregg [9], dynamic interaction was (www.google.com/products) was used to retrieve the amountmodeled as a formative second-order construct using the hier- of RAM and processor speed for each laptop; then, Amazonarchical component model and, thus, has an R2 of 1.0 because (www.amazon.com) was used to retrieve consumer productof the repeated indicators used in this approach [14]. Diagnos- reviews for each laptop. On Amazon, consumers can rate eachticity, confidence, and intention had R2 values of 0.51, 0.33, product from one to five stars, and Amazon reports the averageand 0.61, respectively. This means that 51% of the variation in stars for each product. The average stars for each laptop werediagnosticity is explained by dynamic interaction, 33% of the recorded and then aggregated for each mashup category. Invariation in confidence is explained by dynamic interaction and result, the following data points were collected for each surveydiagnosticity, and 61% of the variation in intention is explained response: memory (RAM), processor speed (in gigahertz), cost,by dynamic interaction, diagnosticity, and confidence. As Fig. 3 and consumer review, which were aggregated to representand Table VII show, four of the five hypotheses were supported. decision quality, as shown in Fig. 4.Hypotheses 1, 2, and 4 are significant at 0.01, and hypothesis 5 To evaluate calibration (the alignment between an individ-is significant at 0.05. The relationship between dynamic inter- ual’s decision confidence and the quality of their decision), aaction and intention was not directly supported. Instead, the post hoc analysis was performed. PLS (Visual PLS, versionresults of this study suggest that the influence of dynamic 1.04b) was used to evaluate the relationship between the fourinteraction on intention is fully mediated by diagnosticity and confidence scale items from Table II and the four decisionconfidence. quality data points shown in Fig. 4. The relationship between
  9. 9. 82 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON SYSTEMS, MAN, AND CYBERNETICS: SYSTEMS, VOL. 43, NO. 1, JANUARY 2013 neous relationships between dynamic interaction → perceived reliability, perceived usefulness, and diagnosticity → intention. From an academic perspective, this study provides several significant contributions. To our knowledge, two of the five hy- potheses that were evaluated have never been evaluated before: dynamic interaction − > diagnosticity and dynamic interaction − > intention. Another important contribution of this study was to further evaluate the role that dynamic interaction plays in decision support tools. Dynamic interaction plays a significant role in explaining variation in diagnosticity, confidence, and in-Fig. 4. Post hoc decision quality measure. tention, which suggests that it may be an important IS constructconfidence and decision quality was significant at the 95% with implications in other system domains.confidence level. With dynamic interaction (indirectly) influ- To date, the majority of mashup literature has been practi-encing confidence through diagnosticity, and the significant re- tioner oriented and focuses on extending the capabilities andlationship between confidence and decision quality, it suggests functionality of this new technology [8]. However, the currentthat incorporating dynamic interaction in eCommerce mashups body of mashup literature lacks insight into the underlyingincreases decision quality. cognitive constructs that affect how the user assimilates and evaluates the information provided by the tool. The results of VII. D ISCUSSION AND L IMITATIONS this study provide an initial insight into these underlying cogni- tive factors and suggest that the incorporation of an iterative use The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationships case (via dynamic interaction) indirectly fosters confidence andbetween dynamic interaction, diagnosticity, confidence, and intention and improves decision quality. This provides insightintention in the context of eCommerce mashups. Four of the for sellers on how to create mashup tools that are more likelyfive hypotheses were supported, providing support regarding to be used in that the relationship between confidence anddynamic interaction’s nomological validity. The relationship intention was supported. In the current eCommerce advertisingbetween dynamic interaction and diagnosticity was supported. model, website use can generate revenue even if no purchase isThis provides evidence supporting the notion that the user’s actually made when third-party sponsored links are deployed.ability to combine information from multiple sources, and iter- One limitation of this study was the assumption that the un-atively organize it, improves their ability to use the information dergraduate and graduate student subjects had familiarity within the decision process. The hypothesized relationships between the product domain of laptop computers. If a substantial numberdiagnosticity, confidence, and intention were also supported of the student subjects were not familiar with laptop computers,suggesting that improving diagnosticity improves the user’s this could introduce underlying factors influencing confidenceperception of their ability to make reliable judgments using that were not controlled for in this study. For example, Herrthe tool. The only hypothesis that was not supported was the et al. [30] and Park and Lee [61] found that customers with lowrelationship between dynamic interaction and intention. This product knowledge may be more inclined to use a comparisonsuggests that the diagnosticity and confidence resulting from tool. However, the survey instrument contained a text box forthe dynamic interaction serve to increase intention but not the comments or questions, and none of the respondents asked fordynamic interaction itself. clarification on the product domain, which suggests that this This study answered some important questions but raised limitation did not have a substantial impact on the results of thesome interesting ones as well. To date, only one other study study. Future research may overcome this limitation by exam-is known to have evaluated dynamic interaction. Beemer and ining dynamic interaction and mashups in a real-world setting.Gregg [9] developed the measurement scale for dynamic inter- A second limitation of the study is that user’s perceptions ofaction and then evaluated its nomological validity by testing dynamic interaction were not corroborated with evidence fromhypothesized relationships between perceived usefulness, per- how they actually used the mashup tool. The purpose of thisceived reliability, and intention. There are two significant limi- study was to determine how user perceptions of dynamic in-tations to the measurement scale of Beemer and Gregg [9], both teraction influenced their perceptions of how helpful a mashupof which are addressed by this study. The first limitation is that tool was in understanding and evaluating the products listed onthe decision domain used was not a business domain. This study the website and, in turn, how this influenced their confidenceshowed that dynamic interaction is relevant for (eCommerce) in their decisions and their intention to buy. As such, it wasbusiness decisions. The second limitation is that only three of decided to use subjective measures to evaluate user perceptionsthe potential constructs in dynamic interaction’s nomological of the dynamic interaction capabilities of the two they werenet were evaluated. This study expanded dynamic interaction’s using. However, it is also possible to evaluate how users ac-nomological net by evaluating consequential constructs from tually interact with a mashup tool to see if their perceptionspsychology (diagnosticity), decision science (confidence), and of dynamic interaction match the way they actually used theIS literature (intention). mashup tool. Future studies could have subjects use the mashup Both Beemer and Gregg [9] and this study found intention tool in a laboratory setting where their actual inclusion of data,to be a significant indirect consequential construct of dynamic incremental solutions, and iterative decision making could beinteraction. Future research could benefit from combining the observed and analyzed in comparison to their perceptions ofresearch models from these two studies to evaluate the simulta- the dynamic interaction capabilities of the mashup tools.
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