Information Technology and Management

, Volume 5, Issue 1–2, pp 181–207 | Cite as

Understanding Customer Trust in Agent-Mediated Electronic Commerce, Web-Mediated Electronic Commerce, and Traditional Commerce

  • Sherrie Xiao Komiak
  • Izak Benbasat


Customer trust is important in agent-mediated electronic commerce, web-mediated electronic commerce, and traditional commerce. However, the meaning of customer trust in these contexts has not been clearly defined or fully delineated. This paper proposes a new trust model that differentiates between cognitive trust and emotional trust, defines customer trust in each type of commerce as cognitive trust and emotional trust in the various entities (e.g., website, computer agent) that make up a commerce context, and then compares customer trust across the three types of commerce. We propose that, first, emotional trust merits research, particularly in e-commerce. Second, both awareness of the known and awareness of the unknown will be higher in e-commerce than in traditional commerce; this will lead to lower cognitive trust and emotional trust in e-commerce. Third, the key to increase customer trust in e-commerce is to design and develop technologies to reduce the distance between a customer and each entity, thereby increasing awareness of the known and decreasing awareness of the unknown. Fourth, cognitive trust and emotional trust fall along a continuum with potentially asymmetric effects on customer dependence on entities in e-commerce (e.g., computer agent adoption). Finally, future research on customer trust in e-commerce is outlined.

electronic commerce cognitive trust emotional trust awareness of the known awareness of the unknown dependence 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [1]
    J.C. Anderson and J.A. Narus, A model of distributor firm and manufacturer firm working partnerships, Journal of Marketing 54 (1990) 42-58.Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    E. Anderson and B. Weitz, Determinants of continuity in conventional industrial channel dyads, Marketing Science 8 (1989) 310-323.Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    A. Ansari, S. Essegaier and R. Kohli, Internet recommendation systems, Journal of Marketing Research 37 (August 2000) 363-375.Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    K.W. Arthur, K.S. Booth and C. Ware, Evaluating 3d task performance for fish tank virtual worlds, ACM Transactions on Information Systems 11(3) (1993) 239-265.Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    S. Ba and P.A. Pavlou, Evidence of the effect of trust building technology in electronic markets: Price premiums and buyer behavior, MIS Quarterly 26(3) (2002) 243-268.Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    S. Ba, A.B. Whinston and H. Zhang, Building trust in the electronic market through an economic incentive mechanism, in: The 20th International Conference on Information Systems(1999).Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    B. Barber, The Logic and Limits of Trust(Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ, 1983).Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    P. Barwise, K. Hammond and A. Elberse, Marketing and the Internet: A research review, in: Handbook of Marketing, eds. B.A. Weitz and A. Wensley (2001).Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    A. Bhatnagar, S. Misra and H.R. Rao, On risk, convenience, and Internet shopping behavior, Communications of the ACM 43(11) (2000) 98-105.Google Scholar
  10. [10]
    K. Blomqvist, The many faces of trust, Scand. Journal of Management 13(3) (1997) 271-286.Google Scholar
  11. [11]
    P. Bonacich and S. Schneider, Communication networks and collective action, in: A Social Psychological Approach to Social Dilemmas, eds. W.G. Liebrand and D.M. Messick (Pergamon, Oxford, England, 1992) p. 278.Google Scholar
  12. [12]
    E. Brynjolfsson and M.D. Smith, Frictionless commerce? A comparison of Internet and conventional retailers, Management Science 46(4) (2000) 563-585.Google Scholar
  13. [13]
    A. Chaudhuri and M.B. Holbrook, The chain of effects from brand trust and brand affect to brand performance: The role of brand loyalty, Journal of Marketing 65 (April 2001) 81-93.Google Scholar
  14. [14]
    Cheskin research and Studio Archetype/Sapient, E-commerce Trust Study (1999).Google Scholar
  15. [15]
    T.H. Chiles and J.F. McMackin, Integrating variable risk preferences, trust, and transaction cost economics, Academy of Management Review 21 (1996) 73-99.Google Scholar
  16. [16]
    D. Chrusciel and F.M. Zahedi, Seller-based vs. buyer-based Internet intermediaries: A research design, in: The 5th America Conference on Information Systems(1999).Google Scholar
  17. [17]
    T.H. Clark and H.G. Lee, Electronic intermediaries: Trust building and market differentiation, in: Proceedings of the 32nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Hawaii (1999).Google Scholar
  18. [18]
    L.A. Crosby, K.R. Evans and D. Cowles, Relationship quality in services selling: An interpersonal influence perspective, Journal of Marketing 54 (July 1990) 68-81.Google Scholar
  19. [19]
    K. Crowston and I. MacInnes, The effects of market-enabling Internet agents on competition and prices. (2001 < (2001>).Google Scholar
  20. [20]
    S.C. Currall, The role of interpersonal trust in work relationships, in Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Cornell University (1990).Google Scholar
  21. [21]
    J.J. Curtin et al., Alcohol affects emotion through cognition, Psychological Science 12(6) (2001) 527-531.Google Scholar
  22. [22]
    O. Do et al., Intelligent agents and the Internet: Effects on electronic commerce and marketing. (2000 < (2000>).Google Scholar
  23. [23]
    P.M. Doney and J.P. Cannon, An examination of the nature of trust in buyer-seller relationships, Journal of Marketing 61(2) (1997) 35-51.Google Scholar
  24. [24]
    R. Doorenbos, O. Etzioni and D. Weld, A scalable comparison-shopping agent for the world wide web, in: The 1st International Conference on Autonomous Agents (Agents97), Marina del Rey, CA (1997).Google Scholar
  25. [25]
    S.X. Doyle and G.T. Roth, Selling and sales management in action: The use of insight coaching to improve relationship selling, Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management 12 (Winter 1992) 59-64.Google Scholar
  26. [26]
    F. Dwyer and R. Lagace, On the nature and role of buyer-seller trust, in: AMA Educators' Conference(American Marketing Association, Chicago, 1986).Google Scholar
  27. [27]
    F.M. Fukuyama, Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity(The Free Press, New York, 1995).Google Scholar
  28. [28]
    R.K.K. Fung and M.K.O. Lee, Ec-trust (trust in electronic commerce): Exploring the antecedent factors, in: The 5th America Conference on Information Systems(1999).Google Scholar
  29. [29]
    S. Ganesan, Determinants of long-term orientation in buyer-seller relationships, Journal of Marketing 58 (April 1994) 1-19.Google Scholar
  30. [30]
    E. Garbarino and M.S. Johnson, The different roles of satisfaction, trust, and commitment in customer relationships, Journal of Marketing 63 (April 1999) 70-87.Google Scholar
  31. [31]
    D. Gefen, E-commerce: The role of familiarity and trust, Omega-International Journal of Management Science 28(6) (2000) 725-737.Google Scholar
  32. [32]
    D. Gilbert et al., Ibm intelligent agent strategy, Working paper (1995).Google Scholar
  33. [33]
    L. Hallen and M. Sandstrom, Relationship atmosphere in international business, New Perspectives on International Marketing (1991) 108-125.Google Scholar
  34. [34]
    G. Haubl and V. Trifts, Consumer decision-making in online shopping environments: The effects of interactive decision aids, Marketing Science 19(1) (2000) 4-21.Google Scholar
  35. [35]
    J.M. Hawes, C.P. Rao and T.L. Baker, Retail salesperson attributes and the role of dependability in the selection of durable goods, Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management 13 (Fall 1993) 61-71.Google Scholar
  36. [36]
    C. Heeter, Being there: The subjective experience of presence, Presence 1(2) (1992) 262-271.Google Scholar
  37. [37]
    T.L. Henthorne, M.S. LaTour and A.J. Williams, Initial impressions in the organizational buyer-seller dyad: Sales management implications, Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management12 (Summer 1992) 57-65.Google Scholar
  38. [38]
    D.L. Hoffman, T.P. Novak and M. Peralta, Building consumer trust online, Communications of the ACM 42(4) (1999) 80-85.Google Scholar
  39. [39]
    J.G. Holmes, Trust and the appraisal process in close relationships, in: Advances in Personal Relationships, eds. W.H. Jones and D. Perlman (Jessica Kingsley, London, 1991) pp. 57-104.Google Scholar
  40. [40]
    S.L. Jarvenpaa, N. Tractinsky and M. Vitale, Consumer trust in an internet store, Information Technology and Management 1 (2000) 45-71.Google Scholar
  41. [41]
    Z. Jiang and I. Benbasat, Virtual product experience: Effects of visual and functional control of products on perceived diagnosticity in electronic shopping, Working paper (2002).Google Scholar
  42. [42]
    D. Kahn, E. Pace-Schott and J.A. Hobson, Emotion and cognition: Feeling and character identification in dreaming, Consciousness and Cognition 11(1) (2002) 34-50.Google Scholar
  43. [43]
    D. Kahneman and A. Tversky, Prospect theory: An analysis of decisions under risk, Econometrica 47 (1979) 263-291.Google Scholar
  44. [44]
    P.G.W. Keen, Are you ready for "trust" economy? Computer World 31(16) (1997) 80.Google Scholar
  45. [45]
    D.S. Kempf and R.E. Smith, Consumer processing of product trial and the influence of prior advertising: A structural modeling approach, Journal of Marketing Research 35 (1998) 325-337.Google Scholar
  46. [46]
    D. Kipnis, Trust and technology, in: Trust in Organizations: Frontiers of Theory and Research, eds. R.M. Kramer and T.R. Tyler (1986) pp. 39-50.Google Scholar
  47. [47]
    R.M. Kramer, Trust and distrust in organizations: Emerging perspectives, enduring questions, Annual Reviews of Psychology 50 (1999) 569-598.Google Scholar
  48. [48]
    R.R. Lagace and J.B. Gassenheimer, An exploratory study of trust and suspicion toward salespeople: Scale validation and replication, American Marketing Association Proceedings (1991) 121-127.Google Scholar
  49. [49]
    D.B. Lange and M. Oshima, Dispatch your agents; shut off your machine, Communications of the ACM 42(3) (1999) 84-85.Google Scholar
  50. [50]
    E.J. Langer, The illusion of control, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 32 (1975) 311-328.Google Scholar
  51. [51]
    H.G. Lee, Do electronic marketplaces lower the price of goods? Communications of ACM 41(1) (1998) 73-80.Google Scholar
  52. [52]
    M.K.O. Lee and E. Turban, A trust model for consumer Internet shopping, International Journal of Electronic Commerce 6(1) (2001) 75-91.Google Scholar
  53. [53]
    D.J. Lewis and A. Weigert, Trust as a social reality, Social Forces 63 (1985) 967-985.Google Scholar
  54. [54]
    H. Li, T. Daugherty and F. Biocca, Characteristics of virtual experience in electronic commerce: A protocol analysis, Journal of Interactive Marketing 15(3) (2001) 13-30.Google Scholar
  55. [55]
    K.H. Lim et al., How do I trust you online, and if so, will I buy? An empirical study on designing web contents to develop online trust, Working paper (2001).Google Scholar
  56. [56]
    N. Luhmann, Trust and Power(Wiley, Chichester, UK, 1979).Google Scholar
  57. [57]
    J.G. Lynch and D. Ariely, Wine online: Search costs affect competition on price, quality, and distribution, Marketing Science 19(1) (2000) 83-103.Google Scholar
  58. [58]
    N.J. MacKinnon, Symbolic Interactionism as Affect Control(State University of New York Press, Albany, NY, 1994).Google Scholar
  59. [59]
    P. Maes, R.H. Guttman and A.G. Moukas, Agents that buy and sell, Communications of the ACM 42(3) (1999).Google Scholar
  60. [60]
    A.J. Magrath and K.G. Hardy, A conceptual framework for assessing the level of mutual trust between manufacturers and their resellers, in: Proceedings of the 5th IMP Conference(1989).Google Scholar
  61. [61]
    R.C. Mayer, J.H. Davis and F.D. Schoorman, An integrative model of organizational trust, Academy of Management Review 20(3) (1995) 709-734.Google Scholar
  62. [62]
    D.J. McAllister, Affect-and cognition-based trust as foundations for interpersonal cooperation in organizations, Academy of Management Journal 38(1) (1995) 24-59.Google Scholar
  63. [63]
    D.H. McKnight and N.L. Chervany, Conceptualizing trust: A typology and E-Commerce Customer Relationships Model, in: The 34th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences-2001, Hawaii (2001).Google Scholar
  64. [64]
    D.H. McKnight and N.L. Chervany, What trust means in E-commerce customer relationships: An interdisciplinary conceptual typology, International Journal of Electronic Commerce 6(2) (2001) 35-59.Google Scholar
  65. [65]
    D.H. McKnight, V. Choudhury and C. Kacmar, Developing and validating trust measures for e-commerce: An integrative typology, Information Systems Research 13(3) (2002) 334-359.Google Scholar
  66. [66]
    D.H. McKnight, L.L. Cummings and N.L. Chervany, Initial trust formation in new organizational relationships, Academy of Management Review 23(3) (1998) 473-490.Google Scholar
  67. [67]
    N.M. Menon et al., Understanding trustworthiness beliefs in electronic brokerage usage, in: 20th International Conference of Information Systems, Charlotte, NC (1999).Google Scholar
  68. [68]
    G. Mollering, The nature of trust: From Georg Simmel to a theory of expectation, interpretation and suspension, Sociology-The Journal of the British Sociological Association 35(2) (2001) 403-420.Google Scholar
  69. [69]
    C. Moorman, R. Deshpande and G. Zaltman, Factors affecting trust in market research relationships, Journal of Marketing 57 (1993) 81-101.Google Scholar
  70. [70]
    R.M. Morgan and S.D. Hunt, Commitment-trust theory of relationship marketing, Journal of Marketing 58 (1994) 20-38.Google Scholar
  71. [71]
    A. Moukas et al., Agent-mediated electronic commerce: An mit media laboratory perspective, International Journal of Electronic Commerce 4(3) (2000) 5-21.Google Scholar
  72. [72]
    P. Neumann, Identity-related misuse, Communications of ACM 40(7) (1997).Google Scholar
  73. [73]
    C.Y. Nicholson, L.D. Compeau and R. Sethi, The role of interpersonal liking in building trust in long-term channel relationships, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 29(1) (2001) 3-15.Google Scholar
  74. [74]
    A. Noteberg, E. Christiaanse and P. Wallage, The role of trust and assurance services in electronic channels: An exploratory study, in: The 20th International Conference on Information Systems(1999).Google Scholar
  75. [75]
    H. Nwana et al., Agent-mediated electronic commerce: Issues, challenges and some viewpoints, in: The 2nd International Conference on Autonomous Agents, Minneapolis, MN (1998).Google Scholar
  76. [76]
    R. Peek, Is the web ready for 3-D? Should you be? Information Today 14(11) (1997) 48.Google Scholar
  77. [77]
    R.E. Plank, D.A. Reid and E.B. Pullins, Perceived trust in business-to-business sales: A new measure, The Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management 19(3) (1999) 61-71.Google Scholar
  78. [78]
    A.R. Rao and R.W. Ruekert, Brand alliance as signals of product quality, Sloan Management Review (1994) 87-97.Google Scholar
  79. [79]
    P. Ratnasingham, The importance of trust in electronic commerce, Internet Research 8(4) (1998) 313-321.Google Scholar
  80. [80]
    J.K. Rempel, J.G. Holmes and M.P. Zanna, Trust in close relationships, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 49(1) (1985) 95-112.Google Scholar
  81. [81]
    G. Rose, H. Khoo and D.W. Straub, Current technological impediments to business-to-consumer electronic commerce, Communications of the Association for Information Systems 1 (1999) Article 16.Google Scholar
  82. [82]
    M. Sako, Prices, Quality and Trust, Inter-Firm Relations in Britain and Japan(Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1992).Google Scholar
  83. [83]
    P.H. Schurr and J.L. Ozanne, Influences on exchange processes: Buyer's preconceptions of a sellers' trustworthiness and bargaining toughness, Journal of Consumer Research 11 (1985) 939-953.Google Scholar
  84. [84]
    U. Shardanand and P. Maes, Social information filtering: Algorithms for automating 'Word of Mouth', in: The Computer-Human Interaction Conference (CHI'95), Denver, CO (ACM Press, New York, 1995).Google Scholar
  85. [85]
    G. Simmel, The Sociology of Georg Smmel(Free Press, New York, 1964).Google Scholar
  86. [86]
    M.V. Sinmao, Intelligent agents and e-commerce. briefings2/Sinmao.htm (1999).Google Scholar
  87. [87]
    J. Steuer, Defining virtual reality: Dimensions determining telepresence, Journal of Communication 42(4) (1992) 73-93.Google Scholar
  88. [88]
    K.J. Stewart, Transference as a means of building trust in world wide web sites, in: The 20th International Conference on Information Systems (1999).Google Scholar
  89. [89]
    D.W. Straub and R.T. Watson, Transformational issues in researching is and net-enabled organizations, Working paper (2001).Google Scholar
  90. [90]
    D.E. Strutton, L.E. Pelton and J.F.J. Tanner, Shall we gather in the garden: The effect of ingratiatory behaviors on buyer trust in salespeople, Industrial Marketing Management 25 (1996) 151-162.Google Scholar
  91. [91]
    S.S. Sundar and C. Nass, Source orientation in human-computer interaction-Programmer, networker, or independent social actor? Communication Research 27(6) (2000) 683-703.Google Scholar
  92. [92]
    J.E. Swan, M.R. Bowers and L.D. Richardson, Customer trust in the salesperson: An integrative review and meta-analysis of the empirical literature, Journal of Business Research 44(2) (1999) 93-107.Google Scholar
  93. [93]
    J.E. Swan et al., Measuring dimensions of purchaser trust of industrial salespeople, Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management 8 (1988) 1-9.Google Scholar
  94. [94]
    J.E. Swan, F.I. Trawick and D.W. Silva, How industrial salespeople gain customer trust, Industrial Marketing Management 14 (1985) 203-211.Google Scholar
  95. [95]
    Y. Tan and W. Thoen, Formal aspects of a generic model of trust for electronic commerce, in: The 33rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences(2000).Google Scholar
  96. [96]
    E. Turban et al., Electronic Commerce: A Managerial Perspective(Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1999).Google Scholar
  97. [97]
    G.L. Urban, F. Sultan and W. Qualls, Design and evaluation of a trust based advisor on the Internet, working paper (1999).Google Scholar
  98. [98]
    G.L. Urban, F. Sultan and W. Qualls, Placing trust at the center of your Internet strategy, Sloan Management Review 42(1) (2000) 39-48.Google Scholar
  99. [99]
    L.R. Wetsch and P.H. Cunningham, Measuring determinants of trust and their effects on buying intention for online purchase decisions, Working paper (1999).Google Scholar
  100. [100]
    M.Wolfinbarger and M.C. Gilly, Shopping online for freedom, control, and fun, California Management Review 43(2) (2001) 34-55.Google Scholar
  101. [101]
    S.Y. Xiao and I. Benbasat, The impact of internalization and familiarity on trust and adoption of recommendation agents, Working paper (2002).Google Scholar
  102. [102]
    S.Y. Xiao and I. Benbasat, Understanding the trust-formation processes for recommendation agents in electronic commerce: A protocol analysis, working paper (2002).Google Scholar
  103. [103]
    G. Zacha, A. Moukas and P. Maes, Collaborative reputation mechanisms in electronic marketplaces, in: The 32nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences(1999).Google Scholar
  104. [104]
    L.G. Zucker, Production of trust: Institutional sources of economic structure, 1840-1920, in: Research in Organizational Behavior, eds. B.M. Staw and L.L. Cummings (JAI Press, Greenwich, CT, 1986) pp. 53-111.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Business AdministrationMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John'sCanada
  2. 2.Canadian Sauder School of BusinessUniversity of British ColumbiaCanada

Personalised recommendations