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    Citation : Neveen F. Awad & Arik Ragowsky (2008) Establishing Trust in Electronic Commerce Through Online Word of Mouth: An Examination Across Genders, Journal of Management Information Systems, 24:4, 101-121

    Link to this article:

    Awad’s and Ragowsky’s article describes the examination of four elements:

    1) Online trust
    2) Online word of mouth
    3) Perceived ease of use
    4) Online shopping behaviour

    And how all these elements differ depending on the individual’s gender.

    Awad and Ragowsky has based their article on sociolinguistics theories, buyer behaviour research, prior literature in Psychology, as well as articles on gender differences regarding perception and adoption of technology, online communication , and the impact of all these elements that each gender experience at the time of online purchasing and online trust.

    Online Trust

    The authors indicate trust as an attitude, men and women differ in their decisions to trust and this is given by each gender’s nature. Socially, women tend to perceive risk in a different way, in general women feel more vulnerable in dangerous situations, since centuries women are aware of their weakness and attributes that nature gave to their gender thus they will try to avoid unknown and unfamiliar situations around them. This fact also applies to online shopping and interaction with Ecommerce merchants.

    A few studies had come to the conclusion that Women perceive a higher level of risk in online shopping. Women perceive a greater risk and a greater lack of trust when surfing online, however according to Yinlong Zhang, Lawrence Feick, and Vikas Mittal in their article, this sense of risk can be reduced by having a close acquaintance or a friend recommending a certain webpage, in this scenario women will experience a greater reduction in perceived risk and a stronger increase in willingness to buy online

    Online shopping always has a certain degree of risk, and this risk became higher when sensitive information like credit card details became involved in online transactions. Using a credit/debit/pre-pay card to complete an online transaction can give exposure to hackers that can break into a user’s account details. However these days internet security for online transactions has become stronger as new software and programs are being developed , and online retailers are also updating their webpages with the latest software for data protection and anti-hackers programs thus raising trust among consumers.

    Online word of mouth

    Several studies has come to the conclusion that consumers will engage in online word of mouth if they think the problem they want to share with other people via online is severe, or if the product or service they purchased was expensive also when they want to attribute a product failure to the firm. Many online studies have also found that consumers of both genders will get involve in heavy Online word of mouth if the firm doesn’t provide them with a solution as in this way they can hurt the firm reputation by sharing a negative experience , however they are more likely to transmit word of mount with close friends and relatives. Female consumers are more likely to get involved in negative word of mouth if they will communicate to close friends and relatives that men.

    Another element that is related to word of mouth is the concern for others and the self-concern. Women tend to be more concerned with other people therefore they will be driven to share negative experiences with other people. In the other hand men are more focused on self-image and they will not share a negative experience if it is going to harm their image.

    Social media also has a strong impact on online word of mouth, women are more likely to share their online experience over social media than men. Social media giant Facebook, has reported that most of its users are female and that almost 80% of their video-blogs are owned by female users

    Perceived ease of use

    Perceived ease of use is the perception of difficulty/ease and usefulness someone experience while doing a certain task, also the perception of difficulty and usefulness depends on how familiar the user is with the webpage. Factors like IT knowledge and familiarity with computer programs can have an impact on the user’s perceived ease regardless of the gender. Awad and Ragowsky indicate that previous studies has shown an inverse relationship between a feeling of anxiety self-efficacy when using a computer, and consequently having an influence in perceived ease of use and can also be associated with online trust.

    Online Shopping Behaviour

    While we can mention many similarities and differences between the online purchasing habits of different genders, In general, men make more purchases and are more likely to buy from webpages that enables more information about the purchase, product, delivery etc. Other online studies also revealed that men value time more that women and are also spending much money online buying expensive items. Therefore online retailers are attracting male buyers by adding features on their webpages that allow male consumers to find more products in a shorter period of time. At the same time online marketers are focusing on facilitating male consumers with easier access to the online information regarding the products materials and quality.

    Many studies and articles come to an agreement on the fact that women purchase more accessories and cosmetics, almost double that men being woman grater online shoppers that men. However online retails like Amazon and EBay attract larger number of male consumers.


    While gender can have a direct effect on online trust, word of mount and ecommerce shopping; these days younger generations are becoming much more open to purchase goods and services online as well as using social media to communicate improving online trust, regardless of the gender.
    Also new technologies and programs are developing up to date features to protect users from online threats. Genders can differ towards attitudes and the nature of each gender can have an influence on behaviour, however when it comes to online behaviour these influences don’t apply the same way across genders and are beginning to change, therefore if in future we want to evaluate demographics for online behaviours, we will need to measure other factors like age, income etc to find accurate data as gender will be losing weight on future studies.


    1. (Cooper Smith, 13 Aug 2014) the demographics of who shops online and on mobile

    2. (Anonymous, 2015)

    3. (Oded Cohen, 27th Feb14) the gender gap in online shopping

    4. (Dr Joel Evans, 23 Oct 13) Online shopping behaviour by gender and age

    5. (Irfan Ahmad, 04 Nov 14) Do men women shop differently online

    6. (Douglas Karr, 5 Mar 14) men vs women online shopping

    7. (Ellen Garbarinoa and Michal Strahilevitz, Journal of Business Research 2004) Gender differences in the perceived risk of buying online and the effects of receiving a site recommendation

    8. (Yinlong Zhang, Lawrence Feick, and Vikas Mittal, April 2014) How Males and Females Differ in Their Likelihood of Transmitting Negative Word of Mouth. Journal of Consumer Research

    9. (Phyllis Wiss Haserot, 21 June 10) multigenerational networking

    10. (Chris Nickson, 26 Aug 15) how young generations accepts technology

    Camino Rufo

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