Affiliated Organization

Proceedings of JAIS Theory Development Workshop


This paper proposes the Unified Trust-Distrust Model (UTDM) to reconcile the differences in the literature on the complex relationship between trust and distrust. Extant research on trust and distrust follows two main approaches that are built on contradictory assumptions: trust has been conceptualized as a different construct than distrust by some researchers, while others consider trust and distrust to represent opposite ends of a single continuum. UTDM expands upon both of these approaches while resolving their contradictions; thus, UTDM provides a novel view of the trust-distrust relationship that has the potential for more explanatory power than previous models. Further, UTDM introduces ambivalence to the trust-distrust literature as a possible consequence of contradictory trust and distrust attitudes, and as an antecedent of trusting intentions. Ambivalence was shown in previous research to attenuate the relationship between trusting beliefs and trusting intentions. UTDM further expands the trust-distrust literature by expanding the nomological network of distrust by proposing two new antecedents of distrust: suspicion and situational abnormality. The measurement of this model is then discussed along with future research possibilities that naturally result from this model.