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Are you concerned?: A study of the consumers’ concern about the information the organizations’ gather about them
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
2008 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The current information society is collecting information about individual needs, wants and desires continuously with the help of new technologies. Information systems, such as consumer relationship management (CRM) have a crucial importance when providing personalized services to the customers. This is done by gathering, storing, maintaining and distributing important consumer knowledge throughout the organization. (Chen & Popovich, 2003) However as previous studies have shown, consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about threats to their personal privacy when new technologies are integrated into the society (e.g. Cranor et al, 1999; Kervenoael et al, 2007). As these emerging issues are becoming more common in the consumers’ daily lives, it is of great importance to discover their perceptions about it. Hence, the purpose of this study is to examine the consumers’ perception about their privacy and how they affiliate with their personal information being processed in various organizations.

The theoretical framework suggests that several factors affects the consumers comfort in sharing personal information to companies, such as the physical environment of the organization, which type of information that is shared, what organization that stores and uses the information, the psychological distance the actors have to each other and how much control the consumers have over the use of their personal information. A selfadministered questionnaire was used to collect the data. The results showed that the majority of the respondents were concerned about the information that is gathered about them, which further emphasises the importance of this study. It was evident that the respondents were more willing to provide demographic and lifestyle information, rather than financial and purchase related information. The results also showed a variation depending on which organization that is considered. The various organizations were categorized into four different groups; Intimate distance, personal distance, social distance and public distance, depending on the respondents’ perceived comfort in sharing their personal information with them.

Some significant differences were observed between the various demographic groups as well. One of the findings indicates that men appear to be more comfortable in sharing their personal information to certain companies in comparison to women, due to a higher intellectual risk-propensity. It is argued that the consumers concern for privacy is an important issue to consider for companies. In order to maintain a strong relationship with their customers it should be integrated as an essential part of their CRM-strategies to make their information gathering techniques more efficient.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet , 2008. , 76 p.
Keyword [en]
Privacy, Psychological distance, Information sharing, Information privacy, Privacy intrusion, Privacy concerns, Consumer privacy, Consumer information
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-1711OAI: diva2:141868
Available from: 2008-06-17 Created: 2008-06-17Bibliographically approved

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