Introduction to the Special Section: Electronic Commerce Customer Relationship Management (ECCRM)

Nicholas C. Romano, Jr., and Jerry Fjermestad, Guest Editors
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 6, Number 2, Winter 2001-2002, pp. 7.

Electronic commerce is a significant and pervasive issue for businesses and customers. Kalakota and Whinston articulated e-commerce as comprising three relationship types: between enterprises and customers, between and among enterprises, and internal to enterprises. It is the first that this Special Section addresses [1]. Electronic commerce customer relationship management (ECCRM) involves attracting and keeping economically valuable customers, and repelling and eliminating economically invaluable ones. According to Keen, we are on the threshold of a shift from a transaction-based economy to a relationship-based economy [2]. The rising importance of managing and understanding customer relationships in e-commerce is the catalyst for this Special Section.

The three papers accepted for the Special Section provide an excellent overview of ECCRM and detail specific aspects of this emerging subfield of management information systems (MIS). The papers cover a number of topics, including Web site quality, assessment of CRM maturity and development, and trust conceptualization. In “User Expectations and Ranking of Quality Factors in Different Web Site Domains,” Ping Zhang and Gisela von Dran report two exploratory studies on user perceptions of Web sites. One study uses Kano’s model of customer expectations for product and service quality to investigate quality features of a Web site. The second study expands on the first by examining different Web site domains and user perceptions of the relative importance of specific quality factors. The results suggest that Kano’s model provides an appropriate framework to control for Web site quality. They also suggest that customers’ quality expectations change over time.

Harrison McKnight and Norman Chervany, in “What Trust Means in E-Commerce Customer Relationships: An Interdisciplinary Conceptual Typology,” develop a trust typology that relates trust constructs to e-commerce consumer actions. They assert the need for an interdisciplinary typology of trust to compare and communicate research results more clearly. The typology defines both conceptual and operational trust constructs and decomposes each into two to four measurable subconstructs.

Nicholas Romano and Jerry Fjermestad, in “Electronic Commerce Customer Relationship Management: An Assessment of Research,” investigate the status and maturity of ECCRM research. Their results indicate that exploratory surveys dominate the literature, little theory has been developed, few empirical studies use hypothesis testing, and little cumulative tradition is emerging. However, the ECCRM literature has employed a wide range of research methods, covered a large number of topics, and fostered significant professional activity within the MIS research community. These findings illustrate its emerging importance as a subfield of MIS research.

REFERENCES 1. Kalakota, R., and Whinston, A.B. Frontiers of Electronic Commerce. New York: Addison-Wesley, 1996. 2. Keen, P.G.W. Competing in chapter 2 of Internet business: Navigating in a new world. November 1999 (, accessed 9/20/20010).

NICHOLAS C. ROMANO, JR. (Nicholas-Romano@MSTM.OKState.EDU) is assistant professor of management information systems at Oklahoma State University. He has B.S. degrees in biology and management information systems, an M.S. in management information systems, and a Ph.D. in management information systems, all from the University of Arizona. Dr. Romano is founder and co-chair of minitracks on electronic commerce customer relations management for the Americas Conference on Information Systems and the Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences. Previously, he was a research scientist at the University of Arizona’s Center for the Management of Information. He was a visiting scholar at the University of Arizona in the summer 2000 and 2001. His research interests include collaborative computing, Web-based application design and development, technology-supported learning, GSS interface design, knowledge management and creation, and electronic commerce customer relationship management. He has also been a technical consultant for GroupSystems.COM and worked for the International Business Machines Corporation as a systems programmer. He has published papers in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science, Journal of End-User Computing, Journal of Education for Management Information Systems, and Journal of Psychology and Electronic Commerce. His work has also been published in the proceedings of the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, the Conference of the Association of Management, and the Americas Conference on Information Systems

JERRY FJERMESTAD (Fjermestad@ADM.NJIT.EDU) is an associate professor in the School of Management at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He received his B.A. in chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University, an M.S. in operations research from Polytechnic University, an M.B.A in operations management from Iona College, and an M.B.A. and Ph.D. in management information systems from Rutgers University. His research interests center on collaborative technology, decision- support systems, data warehousing, electronic commerce, and enterprise information systems. Dr. Fjermestad has published in the Journal of Management Information Systems, Group Decision and Negotiation, the Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce, Information and Management, Decision Support Systems, Logistics and Information Management, the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, and in several volumes of the proceedings of the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.