Evolution of Trust in Business-to-Business E-Commerce

Evolution of Trust in Business-to-Business E-Commerce

Pauline Ratnasingham (Central Missouri State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-943-4.ch006
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E-commerce is defined as a means of conducting business electronically via online transactions among trading partners. Forrester Research predicted that B2B (business-to-business) e-commerce could be worth $5.7 trillion by the end of 2004. This study aims to examine the evolution of e-technologies and its impact on trust. Trust refers to reliance on and confidence in one’s business partner (Mayer, Davis, & Schoorman, 1995). We discuss the evolution of e-technologies in light of the evolution of trust in technology trust (or transactional trust) and relationship trust or (relational trust). Electronic data interchange (EDI) was the prominent technology used in the 1970s and ’80s. As we approached the 21st century and with the advent of the Internet, businesses feared that the lack of presence on the Internet would hinder their competitive and strategic advantages. Internet competition in most industries is forcing businesses to search for ways to improve product quality, customer service, and operation efficiency in supply chain management (SCM) in order to remain competitive. Today e-commerce has moved beyond EDI via value-added networks (VANs) by leveraging into the Internet and extending into Web technologies. The Internet is transforming and reshaping the nature of interorganizational commerce by enabling new types of interorganizational relationships. The business benefits include lower costs and more flexible systems that provide a facilitating structure for virtual relationships, enabling the easier identification of suppliers and products and more integrated supply chain management (Dai & Kaufmann, 2000). The Internet has impacted the SCM e-commerce environment by creating a centralized, global business and management strategy (e.g., make to order, assemble to order, and make to stock), and online real-time, distributed information processing to the desktop, thereby providing total supply-chain information visibility and the ability to manage information not only within firms, but also across firms and industries. On the other hand, uncertainties, technical complexities, and concerns about trust have kept many firms from participating actively in B2B e-commerce. Uncertainties reduce the confidence both in the reliability of online B2B transactions and more importantly in the trading parties themselves. In a survey of 60 procurement trading partners involved in supply chain management at U.S. firms conducted by New York-based Jupiter Media Metrix Inc. in 2001, the findings indicated that 45% of the trading partners suggest a lack of trust prevented them from buying goods and trading online more frequently. In the next section we discuss the evolution of e-technologies, followed by its role in supply chain management and impact on trust.

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