Journal of the Association for Information Systems


The halo effect has been extensively used to understand how people make judgments about the quality of an object. Also, the halo effect has been known to occur when people evaluate multi-attribute objects. Although websites consist of multiple attributes and dimensions, prior research in information systems has paid little attention to how people evaluate multi-attribute websites and associated halos. Furthermore, research investigating how initial evaluations of reputation are formed toward unknown objects under the halo effect is scarce. Based on these two research gaps, the purposes of this study are to identify whether there is evidence of salient halos in the evaluation of multi-attribute websites and to theorize initial perceptions of reputation. To accomplish these objectives, we introduce a framework for classifying halos based on attributes and dimensions. Also, this study employs charity websites as a multi-attribute donation channel consisting of three attributes of information content quality (mission information, financial information, and donation information) and four attributes of system quality (navigability, download speed, visual aesthetics, and security). Based on the proposed framework, this study proposes four types of halos that are relevant to charity website evaluation—collective halo (attribute-to-attribute), aesthetics halo (attribute-to-dimension), reciprocal-quality halo (dimension-to-dimension), and quality halo (dimension-to-dimension). The results of structural equation modeling and other analyses provide evidence of the various proposed halos.