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A study of trust over time within a social network mediated environment

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Trust is central to many marketing models; however, few studies have measured its components over time. Many longitudinal studies have relied on retrospective recall. This study builds a theory of trust development and undermining over time within the context of social-network media.An inductive study phase used phenomenological webnography to build a theory of trust development. 352 peer-review comments were analysed over six years. Outcomes of this phase informed subsequent deductive tests.Four dimensions of trust emerged – ability, benevolence, integrity and predictability – with different salience over time. Ability, a cognitive-based dimension, was important in initial trust-building. Integrity and predictability, linked to the brain’s emotion area, became important later. Undermining of trust was a shorter process than its development.

Keywords: brands; social network media; trust; webnography; word-of-mouth

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: ESC Rennes School of Business, France 2: ESC Rennes School of Business, France

Publication date: 2013-11-01

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