Given the importance of trust in online environments, information systems research has recently embraced trust research (e.g., Ba and Pavlou 2002; Gefen et al. 2003, Jarvenpaa et al. 1999; McKnight et al. 2002; Stewart 2003). However, despite the enormous interest in the topic of trust by IS researchers (with 129 published papers listed in ABI/INFORM), most of this research seems more appropriate for marketing or management journals, as interpersonal and interfirm trust have little to do with the information technology artifact. In contrast, with few exceptions (McKnight et al. 1998; Pavlou 2002; Pavlou and Gefen 2004), IS research on institutional trust is still sparse. Institutional trust is defined as the trustor’s belief that effective third-party guarantees are in place to assure the trustee’s behavior will be consistent with the trustor’s confident expectations. Institutional trust is perhaps more appropriate for IT-enabled environments where there is often minimal prior interaction and people mainly interact with new and unknown entities under the aegis of third parties who provide an institutional context. Also, there is evidence that IT can build effective institutional structures that engender trust in impersonal contexts (Pavlou 2002; Pavlou and Gefen 2004).
Pavlou, Paul; Gefen, David; Benbasat, Izak; McKnight, Harrison; Stewart, Katherine; and Straub, Detmar, "Should Institutional Trust Matter in Information Systems Research?" (2005). ICIS 2005 Proceedings. 78.