The In uence of Website Quality and Expectancy-Discon rmation on Assessments of Service Quality: A Signaling Theory Perspective

John Wells, Washington State University
Ryan T. Wright, University of San Francisco
Thomas Carnigan


This empirical research paper investigates the role a website plays in combating asymmetries of information when consumers assess the quality of a service offering. Specifically, this paper reports on an empirical study that examines the effects of website quality signal as well as signal expectancy-disconfirmation on assessments of service quality. The signaling theory and expectancy-disconfirmation theory literature is reviewed to provide a theoretical framing for this study. In turn, a research model with associated hypotheses is justified and presented. The results from the study provide strong evidence that when faced with high asymmetries of information in an eCommerce domain, website quality is an effective lever for evaluating the quality of a service. This extends the signaling theory body of literature to an ecommerce domain, particularly with respect to the evaluation of services via a website. Future research is also discussed.