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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

Privacy: The Value of Customers’ Data Practices

Published: May 28, 2019


Sara Valentini, University of Bologna; Elisa Montaguti , University of Bologna


The introduction of the GDPR in Europe, which came into force in May 2018, has been considered the biggest shake-up to data privacy in the last twenty years. To comply with the GDPR, firms have adopted tools enabling them to keep on harvesting data while fulfilling new legal requirements such as displaying cookie banners to users on websites, and explicit opt-in/out requests through re-permission emails. Indeed,  consumers have been exposed to a large volume of requests aimed at obtaining consent to individual types of data processing and about their cookies banners. This has attracted consumers’ attention to the value of their personal information for firms, and lead them to possibly question their willingness to disclose private information. This implies the need for research on the effects that privacy and security regulations have on consumer behavior, as well as firms' behaviors, as privacy and propensity to disclose personal data have become critical issues for big data analytics in marketing (Wedel and Kannan 2016). The purpose of this special session is threefold. First, it aims to explore which factors influence consumers' propensity to share their data with a particular focus on cultural differences.  Second, to investigate how the tools implemented to obtain customers’ permission to use personal data improve transparency or instead are mainly preserving firms’ability to harvest data despite and beyond the existing regulation. Third, we will discuss how privacy and security regulations will shape marketing discipline and future research agenda.

The first paper titled “How Cultural Differences Affect Consumers’ Privacy and Willingness to Share Personal Information” by Christopher Schumacher and Peter Maas aims to test how cultural differences across countries systematically moderate the relationship between consumers' privacy calculus and consumers' willingness to share personal information. They develop a conceptual framework that proposes the main and moderating effects of cultural differences on consumers’ willingness to share personal information.

The second paper titled “Do Companies Say about Privacy What They Actually Do? focusing on cookies banners” by Julia Schmitt, Klaus Miller, and Bernd Skiera focuses on requirements for implementing cookie banners in firms’websites. The purpose of this paper is to develop a scale to arrange different cookie banners and to quantify the extent to which the GPDR made cookie banners converge towards the users’ most favorable designs, represented by the legal requirements.

The third paper titled “Do Companies Say about Privacy What They Actually Do?” by Caterina D’Assergio, Puneet Manchanda, Elisa Montaguti, and Sara Valentini focuses on the relationship between re-permission emails and firms’ data harvesting strategies. The purpose of this research is to understand whether there is a relationship between the themes characterizing a firm’s re-permission emails and the amount of data that it collects from and about its users (i.e. the number of marketing cookies).

The special session will include a panel of two discussants: P.K. Kannan (University of Maryland) and Bernd Skiera (University of Frankfurt). P.K. Kannan and Bernd Skiera's research expertise is on marketing analytics, modeling, machine learning in data-rich environments with special focus on digital and mobile tools. We believe that given their extended expertise in these areas of research, they will significantly contribute to the topic of this special session.