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Reputation as a Basis for Trust

This project is concerned with the process by which individuals consume and process reputational information, and how reputations inform decisions to engage in trusting behavior, especially in online market contexts. In this dissertation I develop a social cognitive model, grounded in schema theory (Fiske & Taylor, 1991; Markus & Zajonc, 1985), to explain how individuals process social information into reputation types, and how reputations inform trusting behavior. After a review of three bodies of reputation literaturethe evolutionary perspective, the firm-level perspective, and theories of interpersonal reputationI propose two distinct reputation sub-constructs: (1) hearsay reputation, reputational information originating from sources other than personal experience, and (2) experiential reputation, reputational information derived from personal interaction with the reputed party. I hypothesize that both hearsay and experiential reputation, independently, predict trusting behavior. I further hypothesize that when both types are available, individuals will privilege experiential reputation over hearsay reputation. I also hypothesize that the relationship between both types of reputation and trusting behavior is partially mediated by the trusting partys affective response to the trusted partys reputation. The effect of a firms tenure in the marketplace is also discussed. A total of ten hypotheses are tested in a series of three studies, using first a trust game (Berg, Dickhaut, & McCabe, 1995), next a simulated internet retail environment, and finally a simulated online auction environment. Taken together, results provide strong support for the hypothesized models. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.
Date01 May 2008
CreatorsGoates, Nathan
ContributorsMikhael Shor, Timothy J. Vogus, Bruce Barry, Raymond A. Friedman
Source SetsVanderbilt University Theses
Detected LanguageEnglish
Rightsunrestricted, I hereby certify that, if appropriate, I have obtained and attached hereto a written permission statement from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis, dissertation, or project report, allowing distribution as specified below. I certify that the version I submitted is the same as that approved by my advisory committee. I hereby grant to Vanderbilt University or its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible, under the conditions specified below, my thesis, dissertation, or project report in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis, dissertation or project report. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis, dissertation, or project report.

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