, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 417-450
Date: 15 Nov 2012

A Holistic Approach for Designing Human-Centric Trust Systems

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Online trust systems, albeit existing as technical implementations, aim to translate the role that trust has in the traditional world onto the virtual platforms. Establishing the inter-dependence between these systems and the human-factor is essential for reducing, but more importantly for understanding the inherent complexity of the open social platforms, and for improving the user-experience and system-performance. This work determines the systemic features of trust and introduces a novel framework of design-properties based on the principles of General Systems Theory. We determine the systemic properties which lack in the current technical solutions, and incorporate social factors into the design-guidelines of trust systems. We introduce four influence-factors and demonstrate that accounting for those factors leads to compliance with the generic system-principles. Finally, we employ case study analysis following the premises of case study research established in the social science literature. By performing semantic analysis of the state of the art on trust systems, we are able to identify two semantic clusters to which trust research belongs, and to choose in a non-random manner the representative case studies for evaluation upon our framework. To our knowledge, this is the first study applying fundamental social science principles from General Systems Theory and case-study research for the purpose of theory-building and evaluation of technical human-centric solutions.