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.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
I. Ajzen, The theory of planned behavior, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 50 (1991) 179–211.
E. Anderson and B. Waitz, Determinants of continuity in conventional industrial channel dyads, Marketing Science 8 (Fall 1989) 310–323.
J.C. Anderson and J.A. Narus, A model of distributor firm and manufacturer firm working partnership, Journal of Marketing 54 (January 1990) 44–53.
P.A. Angeles, The Harper Collins Dictionary of Philosophy, 2nd edn. (Harper Collins, New York, 1992).
A. Baier, Trust and antitrust, Ethics 96 (1986) 231–260.
B. Barber, The Logic and Limits of Trust (Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ, 1983).
J.B. Barney and M.H. Hansen, Trustworthiness as a source of competitive advantage, Strategic Management Journal 15 (1994) 175–190.
S.E. Beatty, M. Mayer, J. Coleman, K.E. Reynolds and J. Lee, Customer-sales associate retail relationships, Journal of Retailing 72(3) (1996) 223–247.
P.M. Benthler and G. Speckart, Models of attitude-behavior relations, Psychological Review 86 (1979) 452–464.
P.M. Benthler and G. Speckart, Attitudes “cause” behaviors: A structural equation analysis, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 40 (1981) 226–238.
G. Bigley and J. Pearce, Straining for shared meanings in organization science: Problems of trust and distrust, Academy of Management Review 23(3) (1998) 405–421.
J. Bowlby, Attachment and loss, in: Separation: Anxiety and Anger (Hogarth Press, London, 1973).
L.A. Crosby, K.R. Evans and D. Cowles, Relationship quality in services selling: An interpersonal influence perspective, Journal of Marketing 54(3) (1990) 77–97.
L.L. Cummings and P. Bromiley, The Organizational Trust Inventory (OTI): Development and validation, in: Trust in Organizations, eds. K.M. R. and T.R. Tyler (Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA, 1996) pp. 302–330.
J.A. Czepiel, Service encounters and service relationships: Implications for research, Journal of Business Research 20(1) (1990)13–21.
P. Dasgupta, Trust as a commodity, in: In Trust: Marking and Breaking Cooperative Relations, ed. D. Dambetta (Basil Blackwell, Inc., New York, 1988).
P.M. Doney and J.P. Cannon, An examination of the nature of trust in buyer–seller relationships, Journal of Marketing 61 (April 1997) 35–51.
J.W. Driscoll, The effect of motivational orientation upon trust and suspicion, Human Relations 13 (1978) 123–140.
M.A. Eastlick, Consumer Intention to Adopt Interactive Teleshopping (Marketing Science Institute, Cambridge, MA, 1996).
M. Fishbein and I. Ajzen, Belief, Attitude, Intention and Behavior: An Introduction to Theory and Research (Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, 1975).
G.L. Frazier, R. Spekman and C.R. O'Neal, Just-in-time exchange relationships in industrial markets, Journal of Marketing 52 (October 1988) 52–67.
S. Ganesan, Determinants of long-term orientation in buyer–seller relationships, Journal of Marketing 58 (April 1994) 1–19.
S. Ganesan and R. Hess, Dimensions and levels of trust: Implications for commitment in customer relationships, Marketing Letters 8(4) (1997) 439–448.
H. Garfinkel, A conception of and experiments with trust as a condition of stable concerted actions, in: Motivation and Social Interaction, ed. O.J. Harvey (Ronald Press, New York, 1963) pp. 187–238.
D. Good, Individuals, interpersonal relations, and trust, in: Trust, ed. D.G. Gambetta (Basil Blackwell, New York, 1988) pp. 131–185.
J. Gronin, Jr. and S.A. Taylor, Measuring service quality: A reeximination and extension, Journal of Marketing 56 (July 1992) 55–68.
C.W.L. Hill, Cooperation, opportunism, and the invisible hand: Implications for transaction cost theory, Academy of Management Review 15(3) (1990) 500–513.
C. Johnson-George and W.C. Swap, Measurement of specific interpersonal trust: Construction and validation of a scale to assess trust in a specific other, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 43(6) (1982) 1306–1317.
G.R. Jones and J.M. George, The experience and evolution of trust: Implications for cooperation and teamwork, Academy of Management Review 23(3) (1998) 531–546.
R.E. Larzerele and T.L. Huston, The dyadic trust scale: Toward understanding interpersonal trust in close relationships, Journal of Marriage and Family 42 (1980) 595–604.
R.J. Lewichi and B.B. Bunker, Trust in relationships: A model of development and decline, in: Conflict Cooperation and Justice Essays Inspired by the Work of Morton Deutsch, eds. J.B.B. Bunker and J.Z. Rubin (Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, 1995) pp. 5–173.
J.D. Lewis and A.J. Weigert, Trust as a social reality, Social Forces 63 (1985) 967–985.
T.P. Liang and J.S. Huang, An empirical study on consumer acceptance of products in electronic markets: A transaction cost model, Decision Support Systems 24 (1998) 29–43.
R.C. Mayer, J.H. Davis and F.D. Schoorman, An integration model of organizational trust, Academy of Management Review 20(3) (1995) 709–734.
D. McAllister, Affect and cognition-based trust as foundations for interpersonal cooperation in organization, Academy of Management Review 38(1) (1995) 24–59.
D.H. McKnight, L.I. Cummings and N.L. Chervany, Initial trust formation in new organizational relationships, Academy of Management Review 23(3) (1998) 473–490.
A.D. Miyazaki and A. Fernandez, Consumer perceptions of privacy and security risks for online shopping, The Journal of Consumer Affairs 35(1) (2001) 27–44.
J.I. Mohr and R.E. Spekman, Characteristics of partnership success: Partnership attributes, communication behavior and conflict resolution technique, Strategic Management Journal 57 (January 1994) 135–152.
R.M. Morgan and S.D. Hunt, The commitment-theory of relationship marketing, Journal ofMarketing 58 (July 1994) 20–38.
J. Murphy, Surfers and searchers, Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly (April 1999) 84–95.
A. Parasuraman, V. Zeithaml and L. Berry, SERVQUAL: A multiple-item scale for measuring consumer perceptions of service quality, Journal of Retailing 64(1) (1988) 12–40.
P.S. Ring and A. van de Ven, Structuring cooperative relationships between organizations, Strategic Management Journal 13 (1992) 483–498.
M. Rokeach, The Nature of Human Values (Free Press, New York, 1973).
J.B. Rotter, A new scale for measurement of personal trust, Journal of Personality 33 (1967) 651–665.
J.B. Rotter, Generalized expectations for interpersonal trust, American Psychologist 26 (1971) 443–452.
J.B. Rotter, Interpersonal trust, trustworthiness, and gullibility, American Psychologist 35 (1980) 1–7.
D.M. Rousseau, S.B. Sitkin, R.S. Burt and C. Camerer, Not so different after all: A cross-discipline view of trust, Academy of Management Review 23(3) (1998) 393–404.
C.F. Sabel, Studies trust: Building new forms of cooperation in a volatile economy, Human Relations 46(9) (1993) 1133–1170.
C.L. Scott, III, Interpersonal trust: A comparison of attitudinal and situational factors, Human Relations 33 (1980) 805–812.
F. Selnes, Antecedents and consequences of trust and satisfaction in buyer–seller relationship, European Journal of Marketing 32 (1998) 305–322.
D. Shapiro, B.H. Sheppard and L. Cheraskin, Business on a handshake, Negotiation Journal 8(4) (1992) 365–377.
B.H. Sheppard and D.M. Sherman, The grammars of trust: A model and general implications, Academy of Management Review 23(3) (1998) 422–437.
S. Shim and M.F. Drake, Consumer intention to utilize electronic shopping, Journal of Direct Marketing 4 (Summer 1990) 22–23.
S. Shim, M.A. Eastlick, S.L. Lotz and P. Warrington, An online prepurchase intentions model: The role of intention to search, Journal of Retailing 77 (2001) 397–416.
J. Singh and D. Sirdeshmukh, Agency and trust mechanisms in consumer satisfaction and loyalty judgments, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 28(1) (2000) 150–167.
S. Sitkin and N. Roth, Examining the limited effectiveness of legalistic “Remedies” for trust/distrust, Organization Science 4 (August 1993) 367–392.
S.B. Sitkin, On the positive effect of legalization on trust, in: Research in Negotiation in Organizations, eds. R.J. Bies et al. (JAI/Wiley, Greenwich, CT, 1995) pp. 185–217.
L. Stack, Trust, in: Dimensions of Personality, eds. J.H. London and J.E. Exner (Wiley, New York, 1978) pp. 561–599.
S.R. Sutten and R. Hallent, Understanding seat-belt intentions and behavior: A decision-making approach, Journal of Applied Social Psychology 19 (1989) 1310–1325.
J.E. Swan, I.F. Trawick, Jr., D.R. Rink and J.J. Roberts, Measuring dimensions of purchaser trust of industrial salespeople, Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management VIII (May 1988) 1–9.
L.G. Telser, A theory of self-enforcing agreements, Journal of Business 53(1) (1980) 27–44.
R. Torkzadeh and G. Dhillon, Measuring factors that influence sucess of internet commerce, Information Systems Research 13(2) (2002) 187–204.
K. Weber and W.S. Roehl, Profiling people searching for and purchasing travel products on theWorld Wide Web, Journal of Travel Research 37 (February 1999) 291–298.
F.E. Webster, Jr., Interpersonal communication and salesman effectiveness, Journal of Marketing 32 (July 1968) 7–13.
A. Zaheer et al., Does trust matter? Exploring the effects of inter-organizational and interpersonal trust on performance, Organization Science 9(2) (1998) 141–159.
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. Cumings (JAI Press, Greenwich, CT, 1986) pp. 53–111.
About this article
Cite this article
Chen, S.C., Dhillon, G.S. Interpreting Dimensions of Consumer Trust in E-Commerce. Information Technology and Management 4, 303–318 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1022962631249