Interactive effects of advising strength and brand familiarity on users' trust and distrust in online recommendation agents

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

6 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1920-1947
Journal / PublicationInformation Technology and People
Issue number7
Online published24 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2021


Purpose - This paper investigates the effects of advising strength of a recommendation agent on users' trust and distrust beliefs and how the effects are moderated by perceived brand familiarity.

Design/methodology/approach - A research model is evaluated using a laboratory experiment with 149 participants.

Findings - Results reveal that a strong advising tone leads to higher trust in terms of users' credibility and benevolence beliefs and lower distrust in terms of their discredibility beliefs (the trustor's concerns regarding the trustee's dishonesty and competence in engaging in harmful behavior) when perceived brand familiarity is high. By contrast, when brand familiarity is low, strong advising tone results in low trust in terms of users' credibility belief and high distrust in terms of their beliefs in discredibility and malevolence (concerns regarding the trustee's conduct in terms of a malicious intention that can hurt the trustor's welfare).

Originality/value - This paper contributes to the trust and distrust literature by studying how each of the dimensions of trust and distrust can be affected by an RA's design feature. It extends the attribution theory to the RA context by studying the moderating role of brand familiarity in determining the effects of the advising strength of an RA. It provides actionable guidelines for practitioners regarding the adoption of an RA's appropriate advising strength to promote different types of products.

Research Area(s)

  • Trust, Distrust, Recommendation agents, Advising strength, Brand familiarity, Attribution theory

Citation Format(s)