Trust in Electronic Commerce: Definitions, Sources, and Effects

Trust in Electronic Commerce: Definitions, Sources, and Effects

Hongwei Du (California State University East Bay, USA), Albert Lederer (University of Kentucky, USA) and Jiming Wu (California State University East Bay, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-611-7.ch007
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In the past two decades, electronic commerce has been growing rapidly due to the increasing popularization of personal computers, expanding penetration of broadband, and continuing development of the Internet and World Wide Web. According to eMarketer (2009), an e-business and online market research company, the total U.S. e-commerce sales (excluding travel) will grow from $127.7 billion in 2007 to $182.5 billion in 2010. The firm also estimates that the number of online shoppers in U.S. will increase from 131.1 million—nearly four-fifths of Internet users—by the year 2007, to 148.7 million by the year 2010. The growth of e-commerce relies not only on the great convenience of conducting transactions over the Internet but also on consumers’ willingness to trust an online merchant. This view is consistent with that advanced by Holsapple and Wu (2008): non-face-to-face, Internet-based transactions require an element of trust; in other words, trust is a foundation of e-commerce.
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Definitions Of Trust

As an important research topic, trust has been studied in a variety of fields, including philosophy, psychology, sociology, economics, management, communications, marketing, and information systems (IS). While researchers agree that trust is essential for many human activities, they usually investigate it from their own disciplinary perspectives and in their own theoretical contexts. Therefore, researchers in different disciplines define trust differently.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Personality-based trust: The trust based on the general tendency to believe in others.

Process-based trust: The trust grounded in past direct experience with others or in second-hand information about them.

Calculus-based trust: The trust grounded in the rational calculation of the costs and benefits of another individual breaking and maintaining an interdependent relationship.

Institution-based trust: The trust developed through one’s sense of security provided by guarantees, safety nets, or other impersonal structures.

Knowledge-based trust: The trust developed through repeated interactions that allow an individual to collect information about the other and develop an expectation that the other’s behavior is predictable.

Identification-based trust: The trust relied on the identification with the other’s desires and intentions, and on the appreciation of the other’s needs.

Deterrence-based trust: The trust formed under the circumstance that individuals will do whatever they are told because they fear the consequence of not doing.

Cognition-based trust: The trust relied on one’s first impressions or cognitive cues, as opposed to personal interactions with the other.

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