To study the social dimension of business-to-customer electronic commerce (B2C eCommerce) we propose a critical social-theoretic approach where commercial transactions are seen as social actions undertaken by buyers and sellers conceived of as social actors. The critical social-theoretic approach serves to analyze and interpret empirical evidence from automobile sellers’ and buyers’ case studies. By comparing social actions by actors in traditional, face-to-face automobile sales versus eCommerce sales we demonstrate how eCommerce tends to affect social conditions of trade and buyers’ and sellers’ behaviour. Grounded in the empirical and theoretical argument we provide an explanation of some unintended and unexpected consequences including decreasing prices, power redistribution between sellers and buyers towards empowerment of buyers, and increasing fairness of trade practices.
Cecez-Kecmanovic, Dubravka and Janson, Marius, "The Social Dimension of eCommerce" (2005). ACIS 2005 Proceedings. Paper 101.