Certifications are means to overcome information asymmetry between customers and providers in the adoption of electronic services. While certifications are being progressively used in diverse electronic markets, research is inconclusive regarding their effectiveness. A previously unconsidered cause might be differing preferences for a certification’s structural elements by providers and customers. We argue that such perceptual incongruence, caused by differing incentives and goals, may lead to a lack of alignment regarding the usage intention for a certified service. However, when providers and customers’ perceptions overlap, they may have aligned intentions to rely on certification. We argue that shared preferences for certifications’ structural dimensions – core aspects defining the what (i.e., content), who (i.e., source) and how (i.e., process) of a certification – lead to more congruent perceptions. To test our hypothesis, we conducted a preliminary online experiment with 152 cloud service consumers. Surprisingly, we could not confirm a significant effect of perceptual congruence on the alignment of usage intention for a certified service. However, our hypotheses cannot finally be rejected due to low overall model fit and require further investigation. Hence, we discuss results and lay out an agenda for our next steps, concentrating on qualitative interviews in the professional cloud computing context.
Siegfried, Nils; Löbbers, Julian; Benlian, Alexander; and Sunyaev, Ali, "Seeing Service Certification “Eye to Eye” - The Role of Perceptual Congruence Between Customers and Providers in IS Certification" (2018). Research-in-Progress Papers. 16.