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Legitimate by design: towards trusted socio-technical systems

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Legitimacy or 'fairness' seems a key requirement for trust in computer-mediated social environments. Trust in turn seems necessary for productive community interactions like e-commerce. But unless legitimacy is built into social software, achieving trust may not be possible. This means expressing apparently vague social 'rights' as specific information system (IS) requirements, i.e. carrying out a legitimacy analysis. We suggest a framework for the systematic analysis of who 'owns' what in IS design, assuming basic object types and actions. This analysis not only allows social legitimacy concepts to be expressed in IS design terms, but could also reveal socio-technical system design choices for public review. The technique is illustrated by case examples. Legitimacy analysis can apply to wide variety of social software, from chat rooms to virtual realities. It could lead to future global standards for virtual social environment design, perhaps necessary for the emergence of a global online community.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: New Jersey Institute of Technology, New Jersey, USA; e-mail: ([email protected]) 2: Tilburg University, The Netherlands; e-mail: ([email protected])

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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