Repairing Integrity-Based Trust Violations in Ascription Disputes for Potential E-Commerce Customers

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

3 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1983-2014
Journal / PublicationMIS Quarterly
Issue number4
Online published23 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


Trust violations of online sellers are widely reported in customer reviews and are often ascribed to the sellers’ lack of integrity. These reported violations may reduce potential customers’ trust in the accused sellers, given the critical role of seller integrity in e-commerce. However, the accused sellers and buyers often dispute over the ascriptions of trust violations (e.g., sellers may argue that a violation is due to their lack of competence instead of integrity). The trust repair literature has inadequately focused on effective strategies to repair the reported integrity-based trust violations in ascription disputes. Drawing upon attribution theory and individuals’ cognitive sense-making process of trust violations, we propose an account-based approach through re-ascription and stability attribution enabling accused sellers to repair potential customers’ trust in them in the event of such disputes. We theorize the effectiveness of this approach by considering the contingent role of the accused seller’s reputation. Results of our laboratory experiments confirm the effectiveness of our approach in repairing potential customers’ trust in the seller with high reputation but not for the seller with low reputation. We further investigate the effectiveness of disclosing a substantive amend (i.e., financial compensation) made by the accused seller to the victim as an alternative approach to repairing potential customers’ trust in the seller with low reputation. The results reveal the significant effects of disclosing a substantive amend on repairing potential customers’ trust in the seller, regardless of the seller’s reputation.

Research Area(s)

  • Trust repair, trust violation, ascription, attribution, integrity, social accounts, substantive amends, laboratory experiment