Determinants of relationship commitment in online financial investment services : a structural equation approach

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Determinants of relationship commitment in online financial investment services : a structural equation approach

 

Author: Law, Tang-fai James
Title: Determinants of relationship commitment in online financial investment services : a structural equation approach
Degree: D.B.A.
Year: 2003
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Internet marketing
Relationship marketing
Financial institutions -- Investments
Department: Graduate School of Business
Pages: xiii, 129, 12, [60] leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1726532
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/2658
Abstract: The recent revolutionary development of the Internet has had a tremendous impact on consumer marketing. The minimal access barriers, standard interfaces, and simple navigational capabilities of this dynamic medium pose new challenges for academics and marketers. As well as the impact of the Internet on consumer marketing, academics and practitioners have begun to focus on the development and maintenance of long-term relationships between marketers and customers, and relationship marketing has thus emerged as the new marketing paradigm. However, this development has not been without controversy. Relationship marketing has been criticized as being over-developed in conceptual terms and under-developed in empirical terms. On the other hand, it should be noted that the enthusiastic acceptance of relationship marketing in industrial and service markets has produced a plethora of empirical guidelines for application of relationship marketing in the business world, with a significant gap between such guidelines and the development of the theoretical concepts behind them. Although the debate as to whether relationship marketing is the new marketing paradigm is still unresolved, the call for another new marketing paradigm for Internet marketing reflects another gap between research and practice. This study attempts to test the relative explanatory contributions of various relationship marketing constructs within the financial investment service sector in the consumer market, and the determinants of relationship development in the online environment. The objectives of this study are fourfold. First, a relationship commitment model for financial service sector is developed and empirically verified. Second, the causal relationships between constructs of the proposed model are investigated using structural equation modeling. Third, an online relationship commitment model is developed and tested in the business to consumer context. Finally, the online model is compared with the conventional relationship commitment model. To achieve the above objectives, an in-depth study was conducted of both conventional offline financial investment services and Web-based online financial investment services, via a leading financial institution in Hong Kong. Structured questionnaires (for the conventional service) and an online survey (for the Web-based service) were used for data collection. Building on well-established theories of service marketing and industrial marketing, the relationship marketing models proposed in this paper integrate the classic causal relationship between 'quality' and 'satisfaction' in service marketing, with the focal theory of 'commitment' and 'trust' in the domain of relationship marketing. Moreover, this study takes into account the influence of technology, and incorporates the effects of the online transaction environment as a major factor in the construction of a relationship commitment model. The results of the empirical research reveal that reliability, assurance, and trust are necessary, but not sufficient, to retain customers in both the offline context and the online context. Second, service quality is found to be an important factor in determining the level of relationship commitment. Third, responsiveness and assurance are shown to be more influential in service quality in the computer-mediated environment than in the offline environment. Finally, to retain customers, the empirical research demonstrates that service providers have to monitor the level of customer satisfaction and constantly meet the expectations of customers. In the online context, constant improvement of service quality in accordance with technological development is the key to sustaining relationship commitment with valuable customers. This empirical research contributes to theoretical insights in the domain of relationship marketing in the consumer market. Relationship marketing sees long-term relationships with customers as being a stabilizing element. Therefore, relationship marketing certainly seems to be a promising means of creating competitive advantage. In the emerging economic environment, in which a premium is placed on customer retention, relationship marketing is likely to take center stage. It is hoped that this empirical research provides a small further insight into this discipline.

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