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.

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SyafiqAimiisa BusinessstudentfromtheNationalUniversityof Malaysiawhichislocatedin Bangi, Selangor -about 35km south ofKuala Lumpur.  Syafiq iscurrentlyundertaking  a research  project  for  the  Structured  Products  (SP)  desk  ofThe  Standard  Asian  Merchant Bank’s   securities   department.   The   SP   desk   is responsible   for developing   and selling structuredproducts:investmentsthatconsist ofa portfolioofsecuritiesandderivatives. Structured products areinvestment instruments thatarecreatedtomeetspecific needs thatcannotbemetfromstandardizedfinancialinstruments.TheproductsoftheSPdeskare tailor-madeandtheyaredevelopedbasedonthe StandardAsian MerchantBank’sniche specializations  which  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, that peopleuseas theirmain information sourceand 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

Systemdesignquality

Syafiqnowwantstocollectquantitativedatatobeabletotestthismodelwithmultivariate regressionanalysis.In ordertocollectthesequantitativedata,Syafiqis currentlybusywith designingasurveywhichhewantstopostonline.Hehasdevelopedthefollowingtablethat shouldhelphimtooperationalizetheconstructsinhisconceptualmodel.

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-depth information.

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 goodnessofthe information (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)

Thewebsiteprovidescomprehensive information.

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 onthewebsite is perceivedtobeprecise(Muylle etal.

2004;Zhangand vonDran2002).

Thewebsiteprovidesaccurate information. 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 the information.

Thewebsite isbeing easytogobackandforthbetweenpages. Thewebsite isprovidinga few clickstolocate information.

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 offerscustomized information.

The levelofpersonalization isaboutright, nottoo muchortoo little. 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. Thewebsitehasanattractive layout.

I like thelayoutofthewebsite.

The layoutofthewebsiteis visuallycomforting. The layoutofthewebsiteisannoying.

Thewebsite isvisuallyattractive.

Thewebsitehasanattractivescreen layout. 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.

Consistent image

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.

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.

Chen,P.S.andL.M.Hitt(2002),“MeasuringSwitchingCostsandtheDeterminantsof CustomerRetentioninInternet-EnabledBusiness,”InformationSystemsResearch,13 (3),255-74.

Cheung,ChristyM.K.andMatthewK.O.Lee(2005),“TheAsymmetricEffectof Website

AttributePerformanceonSatisfaction:AnEmpiricalStudy,”inproceedingsofthe

38thHawaiiInternationalConferenceonSystemSciences,1-10.

Evans,J.R.,andV.E.King(1999),“Business-to-businessmarketingandtheWorldWideWeb: Planning,managingandassessingwebsites,”IndustrialMarketingManagement,28 (4),343–58.

Greer,T.H.andM.M.Murtaza(2003),“WebPersonalization:TheImpactofPerceived InnovationCharacteristicsontheIntentiontoUsePersonalization,”Journalof ComputerInformationSystems,Spring,50-3.

Hernandez,Bianca,JulioJimenezandJoseM.Martin(2009),“Keywebsitefactorsin e- businessstrategy,”InternationalJournalofInformationManagement,29(5),362-71.

Loiacono,EleanorT.,RichardT.WatsonandDale L.Goodhue(2002),“WebQual:Ameasure ofwebsitequality,”inMarketingTheoryandApplications,Vol.13,ed.K.K.Evansand

L.K.Scheer:Chicago:AmericanMarketingAssociation,1-71.

McKinney,Vicki,KanghyunYoonandFatemehM.Zahedi(2002),“TheMeasurementof Web-CustomerSatisfaction:AnExpectationandDisconfirmationApproach,” InformationSystemsResearch,13(3),296-315.

Muylle,Steve,RudyMoenaertandMarcDespontin(2004),“Theconceptualizationand

empiricalvalidationof websiteusersatisfaction,”Information&Management,41,

543-60.

Palmer,JonathanW.(2002),“Websiteusability,designandperformancemetrics,” InformationSystemsResearch,13(2),151–67.

Schmidt,Serje,AntoniS.CantallopsandCristianePizuttidosSantos(2008),“The characteristicsofhotelwebsitesandtheirimplicationsforwebsiteeffectiveness,” InternationalJournalofHospitalityManagement,27(4), 504-16.

Tarafdar,MonideepaandJieZhang(2005),“AnalysisofCriticalWebsiteCharacteristics:A Cross-CategoryStudyofSuccessfulWebsites,”JournalofComputerInformation Systems,46(2),14-24.

Wan,HakmanA.(2000),“Opportunitiestoenhanceacommercialwebsite,”Information& Management,38(1),15–21.

Wolfinbarger,M.,andM.C.Gilly(2000),“Consumermotivationsforonlineshop-ping,”in

proceedingsoftheAmericasConferenceon InformationSystems,LongBeach,CA: AssociationforInformationSystems,1362–6.

Zhang,PingandGiselaM.vonDran(2002),“UserExpectationsandRankingsofQuality

FactorsinDifferentWebSiteDomains,”InternationalJournalof ElectronicCommerce,

6(2),9-33.

QUESTIONS  

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

objects   according to a pre-specified set of rules.   Describe the object   and 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, more tangible attributes such as weight, length, gender, age, and marital status. Why is 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 or a 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.

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