Perceptions of Trust Between Online Auction Consumers

Perceptions of Trust Between Online Auction Consumers

Sanna Malinen (Tampere University of Technology, Finland) and Jarno Ojala (Tampere University of Technology, Finland)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/jwp.2011100102
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Trust between partners is a precondition for business transactions. The perceptions of trust were studied among the users of a popular Finnish online auction site, ‘’. Results are based on interview and survey data collected from 358 users. According to the interviews, a reputation system that is based on user feedback is essential for the evaluation of other users and their reliability, but the more experienced users had also adopted more advanced strategies for looking for additional reliability cues. The results of the survey indicate that experienced users with a longer transaction history often tend to establish regular contacts, and, partly for this reason, perceive online transacting as reliable. The experienced users were also more positive about the system and its administration than less experienced users. As a practical result, in this paper, the authors examine which kinds of design elements of the service support the experience of trust.
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Trust is about expectations of the future (Shneiderman, 2000). The term ‘trust’ implies a belief in other people’s good intentions; that a person will behave reasonably and do what he or she says (Preece, 2004). However, there is an element of risk in the definition of trust: one can never be sure about the actions of another. As Luhmann (1979) says, if one could, there would not be a need for trust. Because online environments are used by people from different backgrounds, and often anonymously, social interactions can sometimes be risky and unpredictable (Jensen et al., 2002). In online interaction it is more difficult to assess the potential for harm and goodwill of other people, and cues that can be drawn from the environment are essential for the establishment of trust in other people (Friedman et al., 2000).

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