Personalization versus customization: The importance of agency, privacy, and power usage

S. Shyam Sundar, Sampada S. Marathe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

349 Scopus citations


What makes customization so appealing? Is it because the content is tailored or because the user feels greater agency? Study 1 tested these propositions with a news-aggregator Website that was either personalized (system-tailored), customized (user-tailored), or neither. Power users rated content quality higher when it had a customizable interface, whereas nonpower users preferred personalized content. In Study 2, half the participants were told that their browsing information may be used for providing requested services while the other half was told that it would not be used. The interaction found in Study 1 was observed only under conditions of low privacy, with the pattern being reversed under high privacy. Significant three-way interactions were found for sense of control and perceived convenience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-322
Number of pages25
JournalHuman Communication Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Personalization versus customization: The importance of agency, privacy, and power usage'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this