Electronic Commerce Research

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 339–371 | Cite as

Transfer of electronic commerce trust between physical and virtual environments: experimental effects of structural assurance and situational normality

  • Stephen C. WingreenEmail author
  • Natasha C. H. L. Mazey
  • Stephen L. Baglione
  • Gordon R. Storholm


Although there is a considerable body of empirical evidence on the subject of electronic commerce trust, most of it is correlational evidence based on field surveys, and very little attention has been given to causal effects of how participants in electronic markets transfer their trust beliefs between physical and virtual environments. Research has previously established that structural assurance and situational normality have differential effects on vendor and technology-based trust. Generalized expectancies are used as a theory for understanding how people trust and transfer trust in the context of electronic commerce technologies. In theory, there should be differential cause-and-effect relationships between trust antecedents and transfer of trust between physical and virtual environments. This study reports the results of a randomized experiment on the effects of structural assurance and situational normality on the transfer of electronic commerce trust between physical and virtual environments. A pretest-treatment-posttest design using MANOVA revealed that structural assurance, situational normality, and direction of transfer have differential effects on vendor-based trust and technology-based trust. Structural assurance prevents loss of trust in physical-to-virtual transfers, and both situational normality and structural assurance cause increases in trust for virtual-to-physical transfers for technology-based trust, but not necessarily for vendor-based trust. The results indicate significant differences between how trust operates in physical-to-virtual transfers versus virtual-to-physical transfers.


Trust transfer Structural assurance Situational normality Vendor-based trust Technology-based trust Generalized expectancies E-commerce trust Initial trust 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen C. Wingreen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Natasha C. H. L. Mazey
    • 1
  • Stephen L. Baglione
    • 2
  • Gordon R. Storholm
    • 3
  1. 1.University of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand
  2. 2.Saint Leo UniversitySaint LeoUSA
  3. 3.Cherry HillUSA

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