Measurement and Analysis Issues with Explanation of Variance in Daily Experience Using the Flow Model
Gary D. Ellis, Judith E. Voelkl, Catherine Morris
Journal of Leisure Research
Explosive growth in the popularity of the World Wide Web (the Web) has lead to nearly every MNC (Multinational Company) establishing a Web site. At the same time, small-scale firms and startups have aggressively embraced this new medium as a short cut to reach mass markets with little financial expenditure. The new economics of electronic commerce, specifically, Web-based selling and purchasing, has profound implications for established firms as the foundations of competition shift in the favor
... of small, technically astute firms with low overhead. Web economics is sobering in that it describes a nearly perfect market, where consumers can search for a desired good around the world, compare prices and features from hundred of suppliers and make a purchase all in minutes from the comfort of the home. Such economic efficiency dictates a competition based solely on price with accompanying pressures on profit margins. Such a trend, while in the interest of some, clearly runs counter to the marketing efforts of MNCs today, which strive for product differentiation through such strategies as branding. However, the media penetration being achieved by the Web, opens opportunities for MNCs to reinforce their product differentiation efforts. Examples of this strategy exist with companies such as Procter & Gamble, which has reserved 110 Internet domain names that match specific products. An MNC's web site needs to convey its message clearly. For sites that are product/brand oriented, this means creating a rich experience for the user. MNCs need to keep a consistent look and feel to their sites. Allowing every branch office to independently create its own version of the company's web site could confuse potential customers since they would have no way to know which site was the real site. This diversity could dilute the marketing message of the firm. An additional factor will be the obvious efficiency of controlling all web-based activity from a single site. Duplication of effort would drive up the cost of a system when the most important advantage of such a system is its low cost. Since the Web eliminates many product cues, the interface language is left to play a major role in sending signals to the consumer. While English probably cannot be eliminated completely, due to its international nature, is it possible that products highly related to certain nations will receive higher levels of consideration when the language of that country is included in the interface (even though the product being offered for sale was not manufactured in nor is it being sold from that specific country). This study, through the use of laboratory simulations, explore the relationship of the Web interface language, users' flow experience, country of origin cues and final purchasing decisions. Results would help R.O.C. firms in designing more effective commercial Web sites as well as reducing cost presently incurred in duplication of effort when dual Web sites are maintained. MNCs can benefit from understanding how to use the Web to increase branding, rather than simply reduce Web competition to price only. Smaller, Web based firms, can benefit by understanding how to take advantage of the few product cues the Web supplies, in this case the interface language, in order to gain a competitive advantage. Barriers to new competition: Their character and consequences in manufacturing industries. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 3) Bannister, J.P. and Saunders, J.A. (1978) UK consumers' attitudes towards imports: the measurement of national stereotype image. European Journal of Marketing, 12(8), 562-70. 4) Baughn, C.C. and Yaprak, A. Mapping country-of-origin research: recent developments and emerging avenues. In Product and Country Images: Impact and Role in international Marketing, edited by Nicholas Papadopoulos and Louise Heslop, 89-115. The French videotex system Minitel: A successful Implementation of a national information technology structure. MIS Quarterly March, 1-20. 68) Csikszentrnihaiyi, M. (1977) Beyond Boredom and Anxiety. second printing. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 69) Csikszentrnihaiyi, M. (1990) Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: Harper and Row. 70) Csikszentrnihaiyi, M. and Csikszentrnihaiyi, I.S. (1988) Optimal Experience: Psychological Studies of Flow in Consciousness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 71) Csikszentrnihaiyi, M. and LeFevre, J. (1989) Optimal experience in work and leisure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 56 (5), 815-822. 72) Daft, R.L. and Lengel, R.H. (1986) Organizational information requirements, media richness and structural design. Management Science 32 (5), 554-571. 73) Daft, R.L., Leagel, R.H. and Trevino, L.K. (1987) Message equivocality, media selection and manager performance: Implccations for information systems. MIS Quarterly 11, 355-366.