To trust or to distrust, that is the question : Investigating the trust-distrust paradox

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

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-139
Journal / PublicationCommunications of the ACM
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2009


A study was conducted to investigate whether trust and distrust are two independent concepts that coexist and need to be managed differently. It was observed that in this uncertain virtual environment people had tendency to distrust more than to trust to avoid any negative consequence. The study used two hypothetical Web site examples of Internet vendors, which included the provision of value-adding information and the assurance of validity of all hyperlinks to illustrate the possibility that trust and distrust could be two separate operating concepts. This study suggested that current wisdom on Web site design that promote trust needed rethinking to recognize the importance of increasing consumer distrust. Internet vendors need to design their Web-stores to match consumers' mental models of a 'typical Web site'. The study also observed a strong relationship between the evaluation of motivating attributes and consumers' buying intention.