Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

Factors Influencing Online Trust

Academic journal article Academy of Marketing Studies Journal

Factors Influencing Online Trust

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

There is a great deal of communication occurring online today. Online interactive relationships are essential social experiences (McCallum and Harrison 1985). Online we can contact lots of people in many ways. In Korea, more and more users are chatting with unknown people. We can have a relationship with an unknown person by chatting or visiting his/her blog (like Cyworld.com or Naver Blog). Twitter (social network media) even contributed to President Barack Obama's election. However, on the Internet there are few social presence cues that can help people discern each others' intentions. If you believe in someone who you met online, what makes you feel that way even though you have never seen each other face to face?

Close cyber relationships have become of considerable interest to marketing researchers. Consumer-to-consumer interactions are very important sources of information on the Internet. Consumer-consumer interaction is not just a dyad relationship; it is an influential network-based relationship (e.g., you can see lots of comments from various people about a product on someone's blog). Social impact theory provides a framework through which factors can be examined between sources and targets of online influence.

Gonsalves (2008) has come up with the term "Generation V" (for virtual). Unlike Generation X, Generation V is not defined by age, gender or geography. It is part of a virtual reality. Cyber relationships based on this virtual reality are increasingly important. The purpose of this study is to identify the antecedents and experiential outcomes of computer-mediated communication (CMC) relationships. This present research contributes to our understanding of appropriate ways to communicate, build trust, and motivate consumer-consumer interactions in the online setting.

Traditional communication theories cannot explain these cyber phenomena perfectly. To address this issue, we mainly refer to two general theories. The first one was developed by Latane (1981), who explained the social impact theory as any of the "changes in physiological position and personal feelings, motives, thoughts, or behavior that happen to a person as a result of the actions or presence of another person." The other was conceived by Morgan and Hunt (1994), who came up with the 'trust-commitment' model.

LITERATURE REVIEW AND HYPOTHESIS DEVELOPMENT

CMC

CMC means computer-mediated communication. It is the exchange of information in cyber space via computer (Sproull and Kiesler 1986). Many obstacles to communication in the real world (offline) are overcome by CMC because people act more freely in cyber space (McGuire, Kiesler and Siegel 1987) and are willing to disclose information that they wouldn't disclose in an offline communication situation (Sproull and Sara 1986). The communication in a CMC situation may be different from that in face-to-face communication situations. The impact of CMC on people's communication can be considered in terms of social impact theory, which examines factors like strength, immediacy (responsiveness in online situations), and number of sources (network effect) differently in offline and online situations.

Similarity-Attraction Hypothesis

Early research and theorizing on the role of similarity in attraction has focused mainly on actual similarity in values (Byrne 1971; Hoyle 1993). However, it is not easy to determine if similarities are real, especially online. Another line of research hypothesizes that perceived similarity increases attraction (similarity-attraction hypothesis). Individuals make an estimate of similarity on first encountering each other (Sunnafrank and Ramirez 2004). When a person perceives a high degree of similarity with another person, he or she can be expected to seek out future interactions with that person. This behavior can be explained by the reinforcement-affect theory: perceived similarity in personality can create a feeling of recognition, self-confirmation, and self-reassurance, which could then lead to more enjoyable interactions, which increases attraction (Berg and Clark 1986). …

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