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Home arrow Engineering arrow Measuring Electronic Word-of-Mouth Effectiveness: Developing and Applying the eWOM Trust Scale

Risk-taking Behaviour

For some researchers, such as Lewis and Weigert (1985a, p. 971), actual behaviour is considered as an aspect of trust, as they mention that “to trust is to act as if the uncertain future actions of others were indeed certain in circumstances wherein the violation of these expectations results in negative consequences for those involved”. In contrast, various other scholars reject this perspective by separating trust from trusting behaviours. For instance, Mayer et al. (1995) assume that trust (i.e., the willingness or behaviour intention) is a precursor of actual behaviour (i.e., risk taking). The scholars emphasize that when people trust (i.e., they exhibit a willingness to be vulnerable), there is no risk taken, but risk is implicitly included in the behavioural manifestation of the willingness to be vulnerable. The scholars further state that one does not need to risk anything in order to trust. Nevertheless, an individual has to take a risk for engaging in a trusting action. They emphasize the critical difference between trust and trusting behaviours as “trust is the willingness to assume risk” and “behavioural trust is assuming of risk” (Mayer et al., 1995, p. 724). A similar distinction is also made by McKnight and Chervany (2001a), who state that taking risks is a behaviour while trust is the willingness to depend on another, based on the expectations or beliefs of the truster about the object of trust. Rosseau et al. (1998, p. 395) also follow this separation, as they state “trust is not a behaviour (e.g., cooperation) or a choice (e.g., taking a risk), but an underlying psychological condition that can cause or result from such actions”. This view also recognizes that behaviour may be related to other factors as well as trust. For example, actual consumer trusting behaviour (e.g., cooperation or reliance) can be influenced by other variables such as situational (e.g., power of control) and personal factors rather than trust in others (Moorman et al., 1992). Thus, trust is an imperfect predictor. According to Ripperger (1998), trusting behaviour can be best characterized as the risky advance concession in the hope for a favourable outcome, without any explicit contractual security or control measure against possible opportunistic behaviour. The author recognizes that the probability that an individual makes a risky advance concession in a specific context depends on trust, but also other circumstances. Including trusting behaviour, which maybe is not based on trust alone, would therefore result in a measurement problem. Therefore, this thesis views the willingness to act on the trustee as a more appropriate indicator of trust in a relationship than actual trusting behaviour. Further, trust is regarded as one of the antecedents of risk-taking behaviour in any relationship, in which the form of risktaking, according to Mayer et al. (1995), is dependent on the situation. Behaviours, therefore, appear to be inadequate for measuring general orientations of a person. This approach also parallels the established literature on attitudes, which generally postulates a separation of the constructs but also their relatedness (Hogg & Cooper, 2003; Hogg & Vaughan, 2011).

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