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MRN 31,4

Management innovation and cultural adaptivity in international online banking
Daniel Singer, Albert Avery and Babu Baradwaj
Department of Finance, Towson University, Towson, Maryland, USA
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is both to determine Citibank’s response to cultural diversity in the dynamic, highly competitive global market for online banking facilities and services, and whether or not international online bank web sites are constructed in a manner sensitive to the culture of their host country. Design/methodology/approach – This paper takes the perspective of managing innovation for shareholder wealth maximization where consumer behavior is mediated through the technology acceptance model (TAM) belief constructs. The incorporation of variables reflecting Hofstede’s fourfactor framework in 45 country-specific web sites operated directly by Citibank are compared with those variables in 189 web sites of indigenous banks. Findings – The results suggest that culture has an important influence on international online banking web sites and that Citibank has adapted the form and content of its web sites to local cultural influences in a manner comparable to that of the indigenous banks. Further, the role of each of Hofstede’s four cultural dimensions is seen to influence the form and content of online bank web sites. This finding confirms earlier research about the role of culture in the TAM. Research limitations/implications – The results of this study are constrained by the extent to which the Hofstede framework actually captures the relevant dimensions of culture and the extent to which the measures of web site cultural attributes used in this study are valid. Further, the results are also limited by the fact that 23 of the Citibank web sites were located in countries for which Hofstede data were not available and by the small size of this study. Practical implications – Success in the burgeoning and highly competitive online banking environment requires bank management to adapt their web sites to local cultural conditions. Small differences in language, the portrayal of individuals, and the background used in the site can significantly impact the acceptance of this distribution channel by the target population. This study confirms the importance of the cultural values of individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, and power distance with respect to consumer acceptance of online banking. Originality/value – These findings provide guidance for bank managers as they expand their online banking operations into the international arena. They also support research confirming the importance of culture in determining international consumer behavior within the TAM. Keywords Banking, Online operations, Cultural studies Paper type Research paper


Management Research News Vol. 31 No. 4, 2008 pp. 258-272 # Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0140-9174 DOI 10.1108/01409170810851339

1. Introduction The globalization of banking facilities raises interesting questions about how a bank should structure the form and content of its web sites in different countries. Traditional banking activities centered upon physical locations vary significantly from country to country (Huang, 2007; Eun and Resnick, 2004; Smith and Walter, 2003). The style of the buildings, the nature of policies, procedures, and services provided vary to reflect the different economic conditions and cultural norms encountered. Should bank web sites in different countries mirror these differences or are there compelling reasons for a greater degree of uniformity on the Internet? The emergence of online banking as an important channel of distribution for conventional banking products and services has created challenges for banks

Much of this competition takes place in the online venue with non-bank financial corporations ever pressing at the boundaries of traditional banking products (Singh and Kundu. .com/us/d. The US Citibank home web page (www.Citibank. 1998. . the Internet opens a low-cost. It is clear that ‘‘. To overcome inertia and to effectively grapple with constantly changing technology in this dynamic and highly competitive market will be difficult and require innovative management (Knemeyer. While many of the larger US banks have had a presence overseas. many US banks are in the process of expanding their retail banking operations internationally. 2000). The general advantages of a uniform international presence include capturing economies of scale. 19). and developing a more powerful ‘‘brand’’ image. . 2004). desires. 2002). Citigroup. Citibank is committed to aggressive growth. 2006). Smith and Walter. increasing market power. pp. 1998. 1998. It sees as the key to that growth its ability to develop a truly global banking franchise. which provides financial services to consumer and corporate customers worldwide. 251). 2006). is a $1. Confronted by the maturation of the domestic US market. none has attempted to do so as systematically as Citibank. (Annual Report. This ‘‘one size fits all’’ approach would have the advantage of giving the bank absolute control over the web site’s technology... it is clear that banking activity over the Internet will play an increasingly important role in Citibank’s future growth (Rapp. competition has been driven at an accelerated pace by deregulation. 4). Whatever form this strategy takes. from Algeria to Zambia. will emerge over the next five years – an unprecedented opportunity .. These competitive forces drive banks to a posture where they must correctly assess consumer needs. Banks are fully experienced on how to accomplish this Management innovation and adaptivity 259 . developing business associated with international trade. Both as a matter of regulation and organizational culture bank management has historically placed a high value on ‘‘control’’ to reduce risk (Huang. ‘‘(Otalvaro et al.attempting to develop an international presence (Crede. p. largely outside the United States. The pressing question for Citibank is not whether a global online strategy should be implemented. Inc. While many US banks have expanded internationally. While banks have historically enjoyed a protected regulated environment. . In the coming free-for-all. 14). Citibank must recognize a tradeoff between uniformity across national boundaries and the local requirements for success. 2005. ‘‘On line retail banking has instigated a desperate positioning battle among competing companies from all different sectors of the financial services industry. content and form. p. 114-20). The competition for the emerging international market will be ferocious. . it has been mostly on the investment banking side. with a focus on taking advantage of unique opportunities in a particular country. How should Citibank respond to the need for constant adaptation in a continually changing market? In answering this question. but how it should be implemented. it is certain that success in developing an online banking facility will play a critical role in a bank’s success in this competition (IRBF. Ch. for Citigroup’’. ‘‘We estimate that approximately 750 million potential new consumer customers.htm) provides direct links to 68 country-specific web sites.5 trillion (in assets) holding company whose principle retail banking activities are conducted through Citibank. As the second largest bank in the world (UBS is first) and the largest bank in the US. high growth channel to the international investor . For most US banks this attempt is on an ad hoc basis. 2007. . tastes and preferences in order to make their web sites competitive (Bruno-Britz. p.’’ (Kalakota et al.

2006b. 2003). 1996. but by the larger needs of the organization (Jaska and Hogan. Innovation is the key element in providing aggressive top-line growth. multilevel. Innovation may be seen as the successful implementation of creative ideas within the organization (Amabile et al.. but of both the developer’s perception and consumer acceptance and perception. is explicitly recognized in the ‘‘World’s Best Bank Competition’’ (Rombel. and for increasing bottom-line results. Goi (2007) found that good web site design is a function of not just the developer’s perception. 2006). based on perceived ease of use (PEOU). As change is ongoing in the online banking arena.. Successfully evolving an Internet strategy will require creative. However. There is substantial evidence that new technology attracts consumers when that technology is perceived as both easy to use and useful (Venkatesh et al. 1996).’’ (Davila et al. 2003). This implies a continual process in which technological shocks and changing market structures require constantly reconfiguring perceptions and assumptions. 149). Current thinking on this perspective of innovation is shaped by case studies and case histories (Slappender. 2006. and non-linear management thinking. 2005). a key success factor is keeping policies and practices tightly linked to organizational objectives. A comprehensive theory of innovation process management has yet to be forthcoming. there is a case to be made for local adaptation of online banking web sites.. This responsibility requires a sophisticated tradeoff between the risks associated with this new technology and a potential stream of earnings over time. 2007.0 platforms accompanied by ever increasing competitive pressures (Bruene. ‘‘Companies cannot grow through cost reduction and reengineering alone .1 Managing innovative processes The international context of online banking is that of accelerating technological change as banks move toward Web 2. Literature review 2. Singh et al. In this environment. Al-Mudimigh (2007) found Citibank successful in making this tradeoff in the United Arab Emirates by developing an e-business strategy that compliments usability with functionality. innovative management is required for organizational success. Therefore. 2006). this means that online banking strategies should be driven not by technology or IT protocols. 2006). managers at Citibank are charged with the responsibility for implementing the online banking growth engine in a manner that maximizes shareholder wealth. One argument is that the web site has an inherent moral component (Cooper. . to be creditable. the site moral values must be reflective of the target population. Miles. The tradeoff between technologically driven innovation and its acceptance by consumers. The second argument arises from the fact that the ultimate success of a web site is whether or not existing or potential customers will use it. 2000). Thus. 2. Tiago et al. Taking advantage of technological innovation and changed market structures requires a company’s acceptance of knowledge management (KM) practices (Liao. As a practical matter. p. Within such an ambiguous and uncertain milieu.MRN 31. (Rai and Jain. 2006). . . but global online banking presents a different set of challenges (Mead. . 1994). (2007) found that Internet-based KM has a positive impact on e-business performance.4 260 with the physical side of their operations. In a comprehensive review of web site models.. Huang. what is needed is the management of the innovation process.

if we go into another country and make decisions based on how we operate in our own home country – the chances are we’ll make some very bad decisions’’ (Hofstede.2 Technology acceptance model (TAM) The TAM addresses the behavior of individuals in confronting the inherent ‘‘riskiness’’ of interacting directly with hi-tech software and hardware (Davis et al. The TAM represents an extension of the widely used Theory of Reasoned Action (Fishbein and Ajzen.2. 1992.3 Hofstede’s cultural dimensions Culture (the shared values. Most of this concern has focused on the need to include the individual attributes of potential users (e. 1975) to the high technology area (Singh et al. 1989). 2004).. but to the producers as well. 2. 2006a. 2000. it is sometimes amazing how different people in other cultures behave.g. Hofstede (1983) has identified four dimensions of those national cultures which generate significantly different behavioral responses. the thought is that these shared attributes reveal themselves in different consumption behaviors across nations (Clark. The constructs of TAM have not yet been integrated into process innovation management.. yet amorphous concept (Samuel and Douglas. however this area could prove a fertile field for further research. 2001. thus.. Agarwal and Prasad. Therefore. covering more than 70 countries. Attempts at empirically verifying the TAM have led to numerous tests and extensions of the TAM model (Venkatesh and Davis. Management innovation and adaptivity 261 . A number of relevant extensions of the TAM to online banking include culture as a factor impacting either. 1990). and behavior patterns characterizing a group of people) is a powerful. With respect to marketing. 2007) analyzed a large data base of employee values scores collected by IBM between 1967 and 1973. As a result of additional work and refinement. 1997).c. 1989). the editions of Hofstede’s work since 2001 list cultural dimension scores for 74 countries and regions (Hofstede. experience. This literature demonstrates that culture is an important factor in the belief constructs of TAM. We tend to have a human instinct that ‘‘deep inside’’ all people are the same – but they are not. attitude. Hofstede’s comment on his central finding and its implications for international business are ‘‘For those who work in international business. 1999. Straub et al. 2006). beliefs. emotion). Venkatesh. depending on how the model was constructed and tested (Al-Gahtani. Hofstede (2001. This research confirms numerous earlier studies using TAM to explore the difficulties associated with computer usage. Guriting and Ndubisi.. the TAM argues that its belief constructs of perceived usefulness (PU) and PEOU fully mediate the influence of external variables on IT usage behavior (Davis. As originally postulated. End users may choose not to interact with such systems for reasons that have to do with perception rather than the underlying technology. Amoako-Gyampah and Salam. 2005. The general consensus is that the TAM’s belief structures are correct. 2000. management’s willingness to use it.. or both. the PU and the PEOU. Despite some criticism (Plouffe et al. 2001) of the TAM. most studies found it to be robust in explaining consumer behavior. 2006).. 2006b). but does not suggest how the different attributes of culture affect PU or PEOU. sex. It is worth noting that the constructs of TAM pertain not just to the consumers of online products and services.. Ramayah and Lo (2007) found that the shared beliefs (organizational culture) confronting enterprise resource planning (ERP) software impact both the PU and PEOU of that software and. (Adams et al. but incomplete. Singh et al. 2007).b. 2005. Ignatius and Ramayah. Singh et al. 2007).

i. and less caring. there is evidence that the recent internationalization of commerce has mitigated cultural differences in Europe and elsewhere from the time of Hofstede’s survey (Gooderman and Norhaug. the individualism index (IND). Unstructured situations can result in novel. Similarly. Uncertainty accepting cultures are more tolerant of different or unaccustomed opinions. Hofstede has defined this cultural attribute in terms of its two poles: masculinity and femininity. All societies are characterized by some degree of inequality. It is precisely these cultural dimensions which have the ability to show how culture affects consumer behavior within the context of the TAM. on philosophical and religious levels. 2007. Hofstede’s framework stands as a paradigm for understanding crosscultural behavior. People in uncertainty avoiding countries are also seen to be more emotional. Whatever the general orientation of that society. nurturing and modest than women. The MAS may also be better understood by contrasting it with the opposite concept – feminism. identifying the objective ‘‘truth’’ is a greater social imperative. Hofstede has observed that individuals in some societies are generally more competitive and assertive than in others. A higher IND value is associated with greater individualism. A good example of the power of this framework is presented by Singh (2006). In other societies. Thus. and modest than in other societies. and. by a belief in absolute truth.MRN 31. men tend to be more competitive and assertive. and on philosophical and religious levels. nurturing. In a collectivist society. In a more individualistic society. the allegiance the individual feels to the group is what varies among different societies. the group needs are paramount. People within uncertainty accepting cultures are . While all societies are pluralistic to some extent. Despite the criticisms. 2002). individuals in some societies are generally more caring. The four cultural dimensions originally developed by Hofstede include the power distance index (PDI). unknown. ‘‘There can only be one truth and we have it’’. compared to the importance of the group. The underlying notion behind this cultural dimension is that society has some fundamental notion as to what the ‘‘right’’ distribution of power is. safety and security measures. and motivated by inner nervous energy. the focus of the individual is more on their own rights and needs. the masculinity index (MAS) and the uncertainty avoidance index (UAI). The UAI deals with a society’s acceptance of uncertainty and ambiguity. within that society. The IND may be contrasted with the opposite notion – collectivism. In addition. In particular. 2006). A lower index represents the extent to which equality among individuals is expected and accepted. Societies that are comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity tolerate unstructured situations well. Uncertainty avoiding cultures try to minimize the possibility of such situations by strict laws and rules. as the normal state of affairs. it is the importance of the individual.e. A higher MAS Index means the society is more masculine. they are relativist and allow for many currents of thought. Samuel and Douglas. power is distributed unequally. who found three of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions linked to innovative behavior by consumers. but some much more than others. The PDI measures the extent to which individuals in a society accept that. they try to have as few rules as possible. Hence. a lower IND value is associated with a reduced emphasis on the individual’s importance compared to that of the group. a higher index represents the extent to which inequality among individuals is the accepted norm.4 262 It should be noted that there appear to be methodological problems with Hofstede’s survey and his conclusions are not universally accepted (McSweeney. surprising or different outcomes from that expected. Some societies are more comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity.

Average World values Country values United States Australia Brazil Canada Chile Denmark Egypt France Germany Greece Hong Kong India Japan Norway Poland United Kingdom Source: Hofstede (2007) PDI 55 IND 43 MAS 50 UAI 64 35 41 64 34 59 12 75 67 31 54 62 72 53 25 51 80 88 86 32 80 29 67 32 66 62 30 31 43 42 62 53 82 59 58 45 48 32 9 47 39 62 51 52 51 91 3 60 61 41 48 72 43 80 38 62 81 61 93 23 35 88 42 72 98 Table I. which effect PU or PEOU. Management innovation and adaptivity 263 It is anticipated that Citibank and indigenous bank web sites manifest different cultural attributes relative to their host countries. Citibank web sites show the same cultural manifestations as the web sites of indigenous banks. more contemplative. is being tested. The second objective of this study is to understand how culture impacts the attributes of bank web sites categorized into the three main categories of language. Hofstede’s four cultural dimensions selected countries . 3. Assumption 1 is that the Citibank managers are sufficiently proactive and knowledgeable to recognize the need to customize the individual web site according to the expectations of the local population. Citibank managers are too rigid and inflexible to depart from a generalized bank web site model of ‘‘one size fits all’’. and not expected to express emotions within their environment. Table I is illustrative of the range of these dimensions on Hofstede’s scale.less demonstrative. people and background. Putting this in the form of a null hypothesis: H2. Therefore: H1. Rather. Hypotheses The first objective of this study is to test the ability of Citibank managers to construct web sites that respond to the cultural imperatives of the individual countries to which their financial services and products are targeted. Assumption 2 is that the web sites constructed by the indigenous banks will incorporate those same cultural imperatives into their online bank web sites. The objective is not to test the TAM on the web site target populations. the ability of Citibank managers to address the cultural proclivities.

not elitist. females. It might also be expected that in high MAS culture individuals would have a preference for the English language. consequently. Web sites in high MAS cultures will display fewer people than in low MAS cultures. Web sites in high UAI cultures will feature less use of the English language. Professional environments might also be seen as a form of elitism. H4. individuals or family groupings are less likely to be depicted than in countries with a low UAI. Web sites in high IND cultures would tend to depict scenic environmental tableaus. Customers in highly individualistic cultures might also respond favorably to a web site available only in the native language and not English. because English fluency may also connote elitism. Cultures exhibiting a high value for individualism might prefer to be served by web sites that make no distinction between different classes of customers. H6. In cultures with a high MAS. or families on a banking web site may be expected to create anxiety. meadows. in cultures with a high UAI. H9. Therefore. Web sites in high UAI cultures will feature fewer females than in low UAI cultures. and thus find a competitive advantage in their command of the English Language. Web sites in these cultures might be expected to serve all customers and not reserve a special site for ‘‘elite’’ customers. it might be expected that web sites would feature the display of fewer people (men. seashore) may well suggest pleasures to be enjoyed by all and. the need for conducting business in the native language (as opposed to English) would result in a greater reliance on the native language at that site. Web sites in high IND cultures would tend to avoid depicting a professional environment or offices. This may reflect the fact that users of online banking facilities in those cultures are affluent and highly educated. Cultures with a higher PDI Index would be more likely to project a professional scene on their web site as this would convey the elitist thought that some people are professionals and some are not. in countries with a high UAI. Therefore: H7. Web sites in high MAS cultures will either be more likely to be entirely in the English language or to offer an English language version of its site. H8. Therefore: H3. In contrast. in countries with a high UAI. the presence of males. Therefore: H5. women and children) on a web site because the culture is so competitive that individuals react negatively to any threat of competition. Web sites in high IND cultures would tend not to offer English language versions of their web sites. the display of scenic features (mountains. Similarly. Web sites in high IND cultures would tend not to present opportunities to access ‘‘elite’’ web sites. .MRN 31. H10.4 264 For example.

98 0.57 UAI Table II. 2007. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) is conducted with a dummy variable for Citibank (Citibank ¼ 1) as the categorical independent variable and the country specific values for power distance (PDI).78 IND À5. including 45 Citibank country-specific web sites. and the US is the most individualistic culture in the survey. but rather focused on the most prominent banks in that country in order to capture banks with an international exposure. The same explanation may be used for the UAI. While this approach is supported by the relevant literature and the following findings. individualism (IND).28 MAS À4. The selection of bank web sites was not random. the average Hofstede values for the set of countries used in this survey differed from the unweighted world values. Web sites in high PDI cultures would be more likely to show a professional environment than in low PDI cultures.04 Average Hofstede meandifference values .17 À5.07 À2. The survey instruments were completed by the authors. and is comprised of evaluations of 234 online bank web sites in 63 countries. Management innovation and adaptivity 265 4. Methodology The data for study was collected in January. PID Citibank sites (45 countries) Other Bank sites (63 countries) 0. the countries surveyed tend to have a slightly higher PDI and lower MAS than world averages. Measuring cultural dimensions across countries by means of the difference between world values and specific country values converts the Hofstede scale from an absolute value to a relative value. A notable difference between Citibank sites and other bank sites appears to be the lower degree of individualism in Citibank countries. As can be seen from Table II. as the US is one of the lesser uncertainty avoiding cultures. Hofstede’s cultural dimensions were defined as the difference between world values (Table I) and the value for that specific country. masculinity (MAS) and uncertainty avoidance (UAI) as the dependent variables. further research needs to be done on how the specific characteristics and attributes of these web pages are linked to the cultural values of the target indigenous population. This approach overcomes the difficulties of comparing Hofstede’s scale across countries. These are presented in Table II. The definitions of the cultural dimensions used by Hofstede are very broad. The web sites were surveyed for an array of 19 cultural attributes (Appendix I) based an author’s experience in working with bank management.Therefore: H11. In each country. Interpretation of languages in which the authors lacked fluency was undertaken by native speaking faculty at Towson University. À1. One reason for this difference is that only one Citibank site is in the US whereas 21 banks surveyed were located in the US.84 0. The approach taken in this paper is to assume that the actual culturally relevant characteristics and attributes of online banking web pages are subsumed within the four cultural dimensions. Since there are more banks in more populous countries.

It is not a test of differences in variances. then the implication of this analysis is that there is no significant difference between the cultural acclimatization of Citibank and indigenous banks. H4 suggests web sites in high UAI cultures will feature less use of the English language. but rather assumes relative homogeneity of variances. With respect to the IND.335 0. These relationships may be examined by testing hypotheses H3 through H11 above. The issue then becomes the extent to which bank web sites are. Citibank management has demonstrated its ability to be as successful as indigenous banks in adapting to local cultural imperatives and in resisting the traditional ‘‘one size fits all’’ approach.75 0.93 1. but the size of the coefficients suggests the importance of the uncertainty avoidance cultural influence. Dependent variable F 0.05) between Citibank and indigenous bank web sites with respect to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. while the coefficient for English language presence is positive in high MAS cultures. H10 suggests web sites in high IND cultures would tend to depict scenic environment tableaus. H3 suggests web sites in high UAI cultures will feature fewer females than in low UAI cultures. ANOVA results for Citibank dummy (234 Bank web sites) Power distance index Individualism index Masculinity index Uncertainty avoidance index . in fact. Therefore.826 0. the ANOVA results indicate a lack of significant difference (at p ¼ . H8 suggests web sites in high IND cultures would tend not to offer English language versions of their web sites. The results in Table IV confirm H5 and H6.4 266 5. or at least to offer an alternative to the English language.210 Table III. H6 suggests web sites in high MAS cultures will be more likely to be either entirely in the English language or to offer an English language version of its site. Note that in Table V. These results confirm H3 and H4.58 P-value 0. The ANOVA results for the 19 variables used in this survey reveal nine significant relationships between the web site attributes used and Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. H7 suggests web sites in high IND cultures would tend not to offer access to ‘‘elite’’ web sites.MRN 31. Findings As can be seen from Table III. H9 suggests web sites in high IND cultures would tend to avoid depicting professional offices on their web sites. sensitive to the measures of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions used in this study. H5 implies that web sites in high MAS cultures are less likely to display people than in cultures with low MAS values.054 0. If the assumption is granted that Hofstede’s dimensions actually reflect cultural values relevant to the success of consumer acceptance of the web site (as suggested in the above TAM literature review).048 3. English is seen as a negative factor in high uncertainty avoidance cultures. The results are not only significant. This conclusion implies that Citibank’s management has been successful in proactively addressing cultural issues at the country level – or at least as successful as the indigenous banks. we accept the null hypothesis H1 and reject H2 from above. Note that ANOVA tests the null hypotheses that group means do not differ.

15 8.40 P-value 0. H8. Citibank web sites adapt language. individualism and masculinity. H9 and H10. by attempting to respond to local cultural values as well as the indigenous banks do in their local online facilities. 6.18 À9.5 F 4.59 P-value 0. H11 suggests web sites in high PDI cultures would be more likely to use professional environment scenes on their web sites than in low PDI cultures. Independent variable Females presence English language Coefficients À7. 0.019 Table VII. ANOVA results for IND (234 Bank web sites) Independent variable Professional environment Coefficients 8.91 5.034 0. Note that the use of a professional background on a web site is a positive factor in high PDI countries. ANOVA results for PDI (234 Bank web sites) .35 À10. Citibank is seen as aggressively pursuing success in this market.94 P-value Management innovation and adaptivity 267 Table IV. but a negative factor in high IND countries.91 12.6 F 7. people.8 9. power distance and uncertainty avoidance. 0.The results in Table VI confirm H7.013 0.58 11.003 ANOVA results for UAI (234 Bank web sites) Independent variable People English language Coefficients À4. The cultural value held for a greater or lesser degree of individualism appears to have a wider significance for web site acceptance than the other Hofstede cultural dimensions. masculinity.78 P-value Table V. The ANOVA results in Table VII confirm H11. and background to local preferences with respect to the cultural attributes of uncertainty avoidance.008 0. Conclusion Within the limits of this research. this study suggests that the form and content of international online banking web sites are sensitive to the cultural factors of individualism.003 0.19 F 5.94 4. The use of language. at least in part. It appears that the intense competition for market share in international online banking compels banks to address the issue of cultural values in constructing those web sites.11 À9.000 ANOVA results for MAS (234 Bank web sites) Independent variable Elite web site English language Professional environment Scenic environment Coefficients À6. the depiction of individuals and the background displayed are all seen as factors sensitive to these cultural constructs.35 F 6.021 Table VI. power distance.27 8.028 0.

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zero if not present. This environment occurs when the home page presents pictures of mountains. The most common non redblue color scheme was tan and green. or mother. This variable was specified as follows: If there were more than ten products offered. A technical environment is one which computers. Where only one language choice was offered. Therefore. Some bank sites immediately presented an array of products to the site visitor. one for some red and blue (where these do not dominate the white background). or any activity in an office setting (one if present. FX or stock market tapes. Some bank sites offered a different presentation (features.) Background variables Professional background. Building and or safety vault.Family. such sites were given a value of one. are prominently displayed on the web site. Language English language. Gambling is defined to include any game of chance offered by the bank where the site visitor gets a chance at something for nothing (one if present. By virtue of the ubiquitous presence on the Internet. If there were less than three products offered. This variables categorizes bank sites whose contents were presented entirely in English. Colors. rather than people working in an office (one if displayed. others provided only linkages to specific products or no mention of the products at all. A professional environment is defined as one which shows an office setting. Middle aged. Red and blue are generally thought in marketing to be masculine or ‘‘power’’ colors (at least in US culture). Technical background. people working on computers. the site scored as a three. zero if not). This variable categorizes bank web sites that offer viewers a choice of languages (one if offered. or a nuclear family with extended family members (one if present. a value of zero was given. Differing site content when a language choice was offered. About the authors Daniel Singer holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Colorado and is a Full Professor in the Department of Finance at Towson University. zero if not present). pictures. His scholarly activities include numerous Management innovation and adaptivity 271 . father. or offered an English alternative to the native language (one if English was present. zero if not). If between three and ten products were offered. zero if not present). children or the elderly (one if present. zero if not). zero if not). It appeared to the authors that a distinction should be made between bank web sites which featured a really bold red and blue color scheme and a more muted display of red and blue. or some other local geographic feature (one if present. Elite sites. Banks sometimes offer a link to a more prestigious web site at that bank on their web site (one if offered. zero if not displayed). Gambling. but that site mixed languages. and zero ¼ some color scheme other than red or blue. The technical background is differentiated from a professional background by its emphasis on objects in an office. The dominant color scheme at Citibank is red and blue. The presence of a massive bank building or safety vault as the theme of the web site (one if present. zero if not). When the site presentations were different. Mixed language presentation. (one if mixed languages present. zero if it was not). Defined as a group including a mother and child. charts. free gambling opportunities appear to be attractive to consumers. although this is not necessarily true of other US banks. zero if not). Scenic background. the site was scored as a two. the sea. children. color scheme) depending on the language chosen. Different languages. When no difference existed. the site was scored as a zero). is this variable was specified as two for really bold and dominant red and blue colors. Multiple products. This age category is defined to include all individuals depicted not obviously teenagers.

His scholarly activities include an extensive list of . He has a PhD in Finance from Texas A&M University in 1991and a Masters degree in Business from Iowa State University (1986).MRN 31. His consulting is primarily in the areas of portfolio management.emeraldinsight. Daniel Singer is the corresponding author and can be contacted at: Or visit our web site for further details: www.4 272 books such as The Real Estate Investment Handbook and Successful Web Portals in Retail Banking as well as academic journals such as the Journal of Internet Business and the Business and Society Review. with an average rate of revenue growth 50 per cent over his span of ownership. an MS in Industrial Administration. and real estate investing. Along the way. he has been a successful entrepreneur/owner of a business. Prior to joining the faculty at Towson. a book Successful Web Portals in Retail Banking. he taught at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire from 1990 to 2001. having completed the full cycle from purchase. to growth. He has been at Towson University since August 2001. Dr Baradwaj has published his research in academic Banking journals including the Journal of Banking & Finance and Journal of Financial Services Research. portfolio management. and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and is a Full Professor in the Department of Finance at Towson University. Babu Baradwaj is an Associate Professor of Finance in the Department of Finance at Towson University. numerous conference proceedings and four software manuals. Maryland. applied information technology and management of professional conferences. To purchase reprints of this article please e-mail: Albert Avery holds a PhD in Finance. including the Journal of Internet Business. Dr Singer consults in the area of web site design. to sale. His work on hostile bank takeovers and interstate bank mergers have been widely cited in finance research papers.

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