Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 26 Number 2 2009 pp. 241-279

Individual Swift Trust and Knowledge-Based Trust in Face-to-Face and Virtual Team Members

Robert Jr, Lionel P, Dennis, Alan R, and Hung, Yu-Ting Caisy

ABSTRACT: Traditionally, trust has been seen as a result of personal knowledge of an individual's past behavior. In this view, trust develops gradually over time based on an individual's cognitive assessment of the other person's behavior. However, high levels of trust have been observed among members of virtual teams, who often have little prior history of working together and may never meet each other in person. To integrate these two seemingly contradictory views of trust, this study manipulated team member characteristics and team member behavior to empirically test a two-stage theoretical model of trust formation and the influence of information and communication technologies (ICT) on trust formation. The results indicate that category-based processing of team member characteristics and an individual's own disposition to trust dominated the initial formation of swift trust. Once individuals accumulated sufficient information to assess a team member's trustworthiness, the effects of swift trust declined and knowledge-based trust formed using team members' behaviors (perceived ability, integrity, and benevolence) became dominant. The use of ICT increased perceived risk of team failure, which reduced the likelihood that team members would engage in future trusting behaviors.

Key words and phrases: cognitive trust, computer-mediated communication (CMC), initial trust, knowledge-based trust, presumptive trust, swift trust, trust, vignettes, virtual teams