Construct Identification and Dimensionality
It is agreed that establishing the construct’s dimensionality is an important first step of the scale development process (Spector, 1992). The earlier review on the concept of trust has presented the notion of eWOM trust as a higher-order construct that it is further divided into several coexisting sub-constructs. As this thesis’ conceptualization and operationalization are consequently derived from a careful investigation into the interdisciplinary trust research, it seems reasonable to argue that the multifaceted content of the eWOM trust construct can only be adequately covered by a scale which includes multiple sub-scales; that is, measures its subdimensions adequately. However, as the empirical evidence for such a domain-specific understanding is scarce, further empirical support for the proposed definition, including its structure and components, is needed. Earlier research on the concept of trust has shown that, depending on the context, all or at least some dimensions of trust seem to be highly intercorrelated or should be combined due to their inseparability (Crosby et al., 1990; Ganesan, 1994; Gefen, 1997), while other scholars have found trust to consist of distinct factors (Gefen, 2002b; Gefen & Straub, 2004). The following questions should lead to adequate answers, including the empirical determination of the validity of the proposed definition of eW OM trust, its dimensionality, and the construct’s critical factors which together determine its nature.
RQ 1: (a) Is eWOM trust a complex, higher-order construct best described by several
facets or dimensions? (b) Are cognitive, affective, and conative elements best suited to measure consumer’s generalized tendency to trust customer reviews?