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A Holistic Framework for Trust in Online Transactions


  • Acknowledgements: The authors thank the three anonymous reviewers and the Editor of IJMR, Professor Oswald Jones, for their constructive criticisms and suggestions on earlier versions of the paper. The authors acknowledge the financial support from the UK EPSRC for the project ‘Economics-Inspired Instant Trust Mechanisms for the Service Provision Industry’, Grant Number EP/F066937/1.



This paper systematically reviews previous studies of trust from social, economic and technological perspectives and develops a holistic framework for trust, which can be used to analyse the establishment and maintenance of trust in online transactions, and identify the mechanisms that can be used to increase trust. Trust plays a crucial role in the formation of dependent relationships represented by online transactions, and a holistic treatment of trust is necessary because of the gap that exists between the developments in information systems and our understanding of their social and economic implications, and the impact on the perceived trust of the transacting parties. This review enables us to depict an online transaction through its attributes and context, and systematically map these to identified trust antecedents. The key components and processes of the framework are outlined, and three strands of empirical work are discussed to develop it further. The framework highlights the critical role of institutions in the establishment and maintenance of trust in online transactions, which informs the development of e-commerce and e-business platforms and the underpinning information systems, and facilitates the establishment of mechanisms to induce additional institutions to increase trust in online transactions.