2016 News Releases

Raisinghani earns Fulbright grant to lead Malaysian e-commerce initiative

headshot of Dr. Mahesh Raisinghani, Fulbright grant recipient

With his background in strategic information systems and global technology, Texas Woman’s School of Management professor Mahesh S. Raisinghani, Ph.D., is no stranger to the importance of privacy and trust in e-commerce. This expertise has earned Raisinghani a Fulbright specialist grant to lead a Digital Trust Index project in Malaysia in December 2016.

The Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission selected Raisinghani to develop the Digital Trust Index to measure the level of trust citizens have in the digital services offered in their country.

“In developing countries in Asia, Africa and much of Latin America, many people lack credit and debit cards, bank accounts, driver licenses, passports and other collateral that those living in developed countries use to identify themselves and conduct transactions,” Raisinghani said. “Yet, these same people own mobile phones and SIM cards.

Because of this, telephone companies in countries such as Malaysia increasingly act as intermediaries between consumers and service providers.”

According to Raisinghani, this issue is becoming more important with the rise in e-commerce, as these telecommunication companies collect, store and use the digital information of their customers who may not have other resources. If they provide services similar to that of trusted internet providers, these companies might be used to improve e-commerce in developing nations, which could positively affect the national economy.  

With the Digital Trust Index project, Raisinghani will create a framework that includes measurement parameters, focus areas and stakeholder identification. This “scorecard” will help the Malaysian government evaluate consumer trust in specific digital technologies and infrastructures.

“Trust and privacy are key in e-commerce,” Raisinghani said. “Digital network breaches make consumers wary of what personal information is stored online.”

While the index is being developed specifically for Malaysia, Raisinghani believes it could be used by other countries.

“Understanding whether people trust companies with their personal digital information is relevant in both third-world and developed countries,” he said. “My original research indicates this will be the first national index for measuring trust in e-commerce systems.”

This project also represents a couple of personal firsts for Raisinghani. This will be his first visit to Malaysia, although he has extensive world travel experience, including trips to Finland, Brazil, Portugal, China and the United Arab Emirates. This is also his first time to be selected to participate in the Fulbright program, a highly competitive international cultural exchange program, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, that offers grants for studying, teaching and conducting research.

After completing his project in Malaysia, Raisinghani plans to publish his study and share the lessons learned and next steps with his TWU School of Management graduate students.

“Reviewing the Digital Trust Index framework will give our master’s students greater insight into the criticality of trust, privacy and security in a global digital economy,” he said. “In class, I try to provide real world examples as much as possible. What better way to help my students understand how digital trust works than to have them follow this project.”

Raisinghani joins several TWU faculty who have received Fulbright awards, including Holly Hansen-Thomas, Richard Shuster, Joan Edwards, Evelyn Curry, Judith McFarlane and more.

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