Project without external funding

Unblackboxing IT Certifications


The German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding a
new research project for two years. The Project is a joint research
project of Professor Sunyaev (Chair for Information Systems and Systems
Engineering, University of Kassel) and Professor Benlian (Chair for
Information Systems & E-Services, Darmstadt University of

Goal of the research project

Buying in electronic markets has become an important
part of everyday life during the twenty-first century. Yet, customers
are facing new uncertainties (i.e., platform security issues or
malicious online platform providers) and an increasing vulnerability
regarding frauds (i.e., sharing sensitive (payment) information)
compared to brick-and-mortar markets. These uncertainties and frauds
make many customers reluctant or doubtful to engage in exchange
relationships with online platform providers. To counteract these
issues, practitioners and academics recommend to use and embed IT
certifications, thereby reducing uncertainties and fostering the
development of stable electronic markets.

However, the academic literature presents a pattern
of inconsistent findings with regard to intended effects of such
certifications. Moreover, previous studies primarily focus on whether or
not displaying a certification has an impact on customers´ perception.
Yet, a comprehensive analysis on which certification elements are
essential for a certification to be effective has been neglected.
Therefore, this project aims to identify and measure how different
certification configurations influence customers´ and platform
providers´ perceptions and thus IT certification´s effectiveness.
Further on, previous literature has merely focused either on the
customer or the platform provider perspective. Hence, as a second
objective of this research project, we aim to compare and analyze
perceptions of customers and providers to resolve emerging conflicts,
and thereby increase certification effectiveness. Finally, various
research has argued and shown that customers are not familiar with
certifications, tend to have a limited understanding of embedded
assurances or misunderstand them altogether, resulting in calls for
innovative and informative certification designs. To address this gap,
this research project analyzes how to design and display certifications
to foster their effectiveness. Hence, this research project will result
in essential insights about certification structuring, customers´ and
providers´ perceptions about certifications, and finally certification
design. Project findings will provide a fundamental basis for future
research, enabling scholars to extensively and profoundly analyze IT
certifications in electronic markets.

Last updated on 2017-21-08 at 09:41