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Interpreting Dimensions of Consumer Trust in E-Commerce


Consumer trust in an Internet vendor is an issue commanding ever more attention. Based on an extensive review of literature, this paper proposes dimensions of trust in an Internet vendor. These are competence, integrity and benevolence. Competence refers to a company's ability to fulfill promises made with the consumers. Integrity suggests that a company acts in a consistent, reliable, and honest manner. Benevolence is the ability of a company to hold consumer interests ahead of its own self-interest and indicates sincere concern for the welfare of the customers. In a further analysis various sources where trust might reside are also identified. Drawing on the literature in marketing and general management, the sources of trust are classified as characteristics of the consumer, the firm, the website and the interaction between the consumer and the firm. Given the dimensions and sources of trust, a path model for developing consumer trust in E-commerce is suggested. This research makes a contribution to the development of a theoretical understanding of trust in E-commerce. Although the concepts presented in this paper can be used to carry out further empirical research, they can also be used by practitioners to identify particular trust characteristics for realizing the potential of business to consumer E-commerce venture.

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Chen, S.C., Dhillon, G.S. Interpreting Dimensions of Consumer Trust in E-Commerce. Information Technology and Management 4, 303–318 (2003).

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  • trust
  • competence
  • integrity
  • benevolence
  • E-commerce