The Impact of Communications Technology on Trust

The Impact of Communications Technology on Trust

Paul Hodgson (British Telecom, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-100-3.ch720


This chapter analyses the formation and generation of social trust through communications technology in postmodern society, and presents some possible solutions to social disintegration. One view of social capital sees it as the strength of a network of relationships within a community. Evolutionary theory holds that any group whose members were prepared to help one another and were truthful and trusting with each other, would be victorious over other groups. Modern communications technology in postmodern society can be seen thus far to have led to a greater individualization and atomization of experience which presents a problem for the reinforcement of social trust. Virtual communication has been built upon social capital generated in the physical world but is in danger of depleting the very basis upon which it is constructed. The author’s belief is that technology that better enables and enhances mechanisms of social coordination and trust are needed. Some observations on the nature of such technology are provided.

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