Theses and Dissertations


Chengqi Guo

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Shim, J.P.

Committee Member

Arnett, Kirk

Committee Member

Otondo, Robert

Committee Member

Xu, Jianzhong

Committee Member

Sullivan, Joe H.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Business Information Systems

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Business


Department of Management and Information Systems


The rapid developments Social Network Service (SNS) have offered opportunities to re-visit many seminal theoretical assumptions of technology usage within socio-technical environment. Online social network is a rapidly growing field that imposes new questions to the existing IS research paradigm. It is argued that information systems research must necessarily evolve in response to the emerging trends (Lyytinen and King, 2004). Specifically, one stream of research has been heavily lacking is SNS usage prediction (Hargittai, 2007). In SNS, the form of social network is realized by computing networks where the individual assumes an identity of an “avatar”. People are merging their activities of work and living thus blurring the borders among their social contexts (Beck and Wade, 2006). Such new trends have become more sophisticated due to the increasingly robust data network capacity and pervasive availability of communication technology. At present, research in SNS is still in its early stage; hence the need to develop knowledge of virtual world dynamics has become impending. SNS essentially provides various service channels to facilitate social network interactions. These channels are highly correlated with their respective service contexts, among which differences are obvious and important. Cultural factors have been crucial for context oriented studies in both IS and sociology fields. For instance, the global nature of the Internet “raises questions about the robustness of trust effects across cultures” (Jarvenpaa et al., 1999). In SNS, not only trust but also privacy has become a tremendous caveat for service providers. Investigating the combination effects of privacy and trust in a cross-cultural study may lead to important theoretical discoveries and meaningful managerial implications. This study contributes to knowledge by empirically testing established theoretical models of IS acceptance, trust, social and cultural research. Both qualitative and quantitative methods are used in order to present a comprehensive analysis of SNS perception and use in different cultural settings. Particularly, the study finds critical differences exist within the process of trust formulation between American and Chinese SNS users.