Formation of trust: Experimental approach towards investigating the formation of trusting beliefs in an online environment
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In this paper, we aim to investigate the process of trust formation particularly from an electronic commerce perspective using an experimental approach based on our belief that trust studies adopting a cross-sectional research design are only showing us snap shot views of different people at different stages along the process, but not necessarily the complete view of trust. Since there is a general agreement in the literature of trust as a behavioural concept which develops over time through online interactions (Blau 1964, Kramer 1994, Mcknight, Cummings & Chervany 1998, Zand 1978), then it may be possible that such snap shots taken at different points of the trust formation process tell very different stories which eventually leads to very different conclusions on what may be the same object of investigation. The question is what can we discover of the trust formation process when we take snap shots at the various crucial points of an online transaction. To facilitate this investigation, we adapted the conceptualization of Papadopoulou and colleagues (2001) to our study and designed an experiment to test the model which we believe captures the dynamism of the trust formation process.
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