Trust and Technology Model

Trust and Technology Model

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-353-9.ch004


The previous chapter provided a background of the underlying theories and trust models in e-commerce. While each of these models has made significant contribution, their perspectives were different. There is a need for a single model that explains the relationship between trust and technology in B2B e-commerce. In this chapter, a ‘Trust and Technology’ model, which identifies various technology-related and environment related, trust issues and inter-relationships has been proposed. In a way, this chapter explains the variables used in the model and offers a framework of analysis used in the book.
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Trust And Technology Model

A theoretical model would generally define and distinguish between the antecedents and the consequences. It is expected that it will use variables that will comprehensively cover the key issues in the form of attributes and behavior. The constructs used in the model must be such that they permit objective measurement and prediction. The antecedents and the consequences used in the model must relate to each other and must be scalable in order to permit additional levels of analysis. These considerations were kept in mind while designing the proposed ‘Trust and Technology’ model for B2B e-commerce.

The proposed model takes a more comprehensive view of the underlying dynamics of e-commerce systems and the trust building process. It is based on the premise that the appropriate response to the challenge of trust in e-commerce would involve multiple steps focusing on different dimensions of trust. It presupposes that organizational interventions can help in creating/developing a trustworthy environment.

The proposed model is based on the assumption that a number of technology-related trust issues emerge during the e-commerce interactions. Participants in B2B e-commerce would expect that technology would provide certain evidences that help them in removing their doubts pertaining to the vulnerabilities of the trading environment. These doubts relate to: whether the participant is disclosing its true identity; whether there is enough security of the transaction; whether the product in physical sense is consistent with the catalogued version, etc. These doubts can be removed if an acceptable level of assurance with regard to these trust issues is maintained. It is hypothesized that the level of assurance with respect to various technology issues depends upon practices regarding deployment and implementation of relevant technologies and a number of technological environment factors.

The proposed model, as shown in Figure 1, provides a framework that relates various technology-related trust issues to the levels of trust in B2B e-commerce. Level of trust in B2B e-commerce is the dependent variable in the model. The antecedents have been classified into two broad categories namely those related to technology-related issues and those related to environment-related issues. Technologies and factors affecting these antecedents have also been identified in the model. The following section discusses these issues in detail.

Figure 1.

Trust and technology model


The underlying infrastructure of B2B e-commerce is a set of technologies that facilitate the transactions. The traditional commerce offers certain cues like face-to-face interactions, creation of physical documents and evidences, etc. that help in building trust. The technology used in B2B e-commerce excludes to a great extent these cues resulting in the vulnerability of the trading environment. Moreover, this infrastructure is exposed to a number of security threats and other vulnerabilities that are common in cyber space. These vulnerabilities deter the confidence in the electronic environment and promote a level of distrust. Appropriate use of technology to counter various security threats can, perhaps, help in fostering online trust. As already discussed in the chapter one, there exist certain trust issues that can be effectively addressed by technology. The proposed model’s technology-related issues, primarily, focus on these issues that have the potential to influence trust in B2B e-commerce. Thus, the technology related trust issues in B2B e-commerce include: (a) Security; (b) Privacy and Confidentiality; (c) Authentication; (d) Non-Repudiation; (e) Web Interface; (f) System Performance and Infrastructure; (g) Technology-related policies and procedures.

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