The role of swift relationship and institutional structures in uncertainty reduction

Q. Huang, Carol Ou, R.M. Davison

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Uncertainty has been regarded as the most prominent barrier in ecommerce. However, how communication between buyers and seller contributes to a reduction in uncertainty is under-investigated. Integrating uncertainty reduction theory and relational contract theory, we develop a model that explain how various communication strategies will reduce uncertainty in transactions so as to encourage purchase behavior. In addition, we also explore the role of swift relationships and institutional structures during the uncertainty reduction process, surveying real buyers as data subjects. The study advances our understanding of communication strategies by specifying the e-commerce
context to explore how communication can facilitate purchase behavior through
uncertainty reduction. We propose that the communication process between individual buyers and sellers may be moderated by both formal and relational contracts. Also, we add to the existing literature by investigating whether formal contracts will affect a relational contract’s impact in the online shopping context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2016 International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS 2016)
Subtitle of host publicationDigital Innovation at the Crossroads
Place of PublicationDublin
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016
Event2016 International Conference on Information Systems - Convention Centre Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 11 Dec 201614 Dec 2016


Conference2016 International Conference on Information Systems
Abbreviated titleICIS 2016


  • Swift relationship
  • uncertainty
  • institutional structures
  • purchase behavior


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