Impersonal Trust in B2B Electronic Commerce: A Process View

Impersonal Trust in B2B Electronic Commerce: A Process View

Paul A. Pavlou
Copyright: © 2003 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-043-1.ch013
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Although the notion of impersonal trust is not new, its significance has dramatically increased with the emergence of interorganizational eCommerce. Two types of trust are usually distinguished in interfirm exchange relations–an impersonal type created by structural arrangements, and a familiarity type arising from repeated interaction. This chapter contributes to the emerging body of knowledge regarding the role of trust in B2B eCommerce, which is primarily impersonal. The nature of trust is examined, and credibility and benevolence are defined as its distinct dimensions. Impersonal trust-primarily arising from credibility-focuses on institutional structures that B2B exchanges enable through signals and incentives to facilitate interfirm relations. Following the economic, sociological and marketing literature on the sources and processes under which trust engenders, a set of three cognitive processes that generate impersonal trust is determined. Applied to B2B exchanges, four antecedents of impersonal trust are proposed to trigger these processes: accreditation, feedback, monitoring and legal bonds. In addition, impersonal trust is proposed to increase satisfaction, reduce risk, encourage anticipated continuity and promote favorable pricing. A theoretical framework is then proposed that specifies the interrelationships between the antecedents, underlying processes and consequences of impersonal trust in B2B eCommerce. The theoretical and managerial implications of this study on B2B eCommerce are discussed, and directions for future research are proposed.

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