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Aligning the Data Disclosure Process with Customer Benefits: Employing Gamification to Increase Willingness to Disclose Data for Personalized Services
Authors: Margarita Bidler (University of Passau, Germany), Jan H. Schumann (University of Passau, Germany)
Consumer data enables firms to deliver services according to consumers’ sociodemographic profiles and personal interests, making digital services more relevant. Research shows that when being confronted with data disclosure decisions, consumers conduct a “Privacy Calculus”, which is a risk-benefit trade-off. According to this theory, data disclosure occurs when the associated benefits outweigh the expected risks of privacy intrusion.
Due to the widespread proliferation of data collection, individuals increasingly express negative attitudes regarding data disclosure. This negative mindset can hinder consumers to appreciate the benefits of personalized services. Firms therefore need to become increasingly creative to develop techniques to counteract consumers’ risk perceptions, and thus increase disclosure intentions. One opportunity to do so is by aligning the disclosure process with customer benefits resulting from disclosure by e.g., visually demonstrating the potential of personalization during the disclosure process. Gamification, that is the employment of game-elements in non-game-settings, offers various opportunities for such an alignment, by means of direct feedback regarding a task or avatars. While both data disclosure and gamification literature have received considerable attention in recent years, so far, no study has considered employing gamification to leverage disclosure intention.
Our study addresses this gap by examining data disclosure-settings, in which consumers disclose data for personalization proposes by creating avatars. Such avatars are an example for the alignment of the disclosure process with the benefits of personalization: the direct visual feedback demonstrates the opportunities of personalization, fostering consumers’ perception of objective benefits of data disclosure. Results of our experimental study (N=229) confirm that consumers’ perception of personalization benefits are indeed higher in a gamified disclosure-setting. Moreover, risk perceptions of data disclosure are lower for gamified disclosure-settings. These effects were driven by consumers’ perception of hedonic benefits related to the disclosure-process itself (i.e., creating the avatar). Interestingly, potential risks of data disclosure show a subordinate role on disclosure intention compared to the process-related hedonic value and objective personalization benefits.
These results highlight the favorable outcomes from gamified data collection methods on consumers’ data disclosure. A gamified disclosure process does not only increase the appreciation of objective personalization benefits, but also creates a hedonic process-related value. Therefore, our study contributes to Privacy Calculus literature by introducing a new technique to enhance disclosure intention via the alignment of the disclosure process with the benefits resulting from disclosure. We also contribute to gamification literature, as we show, that prior findings of positive outcomes transfer to data disclosure contexts.
From a practical point of view, we provide a data collection process, which is superior to common ways of data collection for both consumers and firms as it not only fosters consumers’ perception of personalization benefits but also increases the hedonic benefit of the disclosure process.