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Establishing trust in the sharing economy: an analysis of organizational, systems and interpersonal level trust

Establishing trust in the sharing economy: an analysis of organizational, systems and interpersonal level trust
Establishing trust in the sharing economy: an analysis of organizational, systems and interpersonal level trust

Purpose: in this study, the authors examine how organizational-, systems- and interpersonal-level trust may be required for a smooth functioning of the firms in the sharing economy (SE). The research objective is to explore the trust-building mechanisms of Airbnb, a leading SE organization, and its aim to foster generalized trust. An investigation of the Airbnb's promotion of different trust-building mechanisms will allow to evaluate their effectiveness in how they can help overcome scepticism and distrust between the transacting parties. Consequently, the authors can develop a unique theoretical perspective on generalized trust in SE environments and better understand any trust-related barriers preventing SE transactions. 

Design/methodology/approach: the authors employ a case study approach to investigate the research questions with the aim to fully understand the abstract and complex nature of trust. They focus on Airbnb as the company enjoys a leading market position, being a sharing economy firm. Moreover, the personal nature of accommodation sharing, which is the business of Airbnb, increases users' trust requirements, and so the company must take active steps to promote trust between the transacting parties. The authors adopt thematic analysis to execute the data analysis of the study's findings, which are derived from emergent themes and directed by the research objectives and relevant literature. 

Findings: the results show that users of Airbnb are concerned about the danger of opportunistic hosts, although they are primarily motivated to use the company's services due to its economic benefits. Nevertheless, the success of Airbnb platform stems from the trust that the company has succeeded in establishing among its users, in particular interpersonal trust. Analysis reveals that generalized trust is fostered at an interpersonal level in the form of peer reviews, at an organizational level in terms of brand familiarity and at a systems level in regards to interface design. 

Originality/value: the authors advance the argument that confidence to transact in the social economy stems from a combination of three levels of trust, including organizational-, systems- and interpersonal-level trust. These findings contribute to the body of trust research in information technology and people literature from its unique investigative setting, whilst simultaneously strengthening the primarily speculative research on SE with in-depth empirical evidence.

Airbnb, Generalized trust, Interface design, Opportunistic behaviour, Peer reviews, Sharing economy
1758-5813
Calabro, Andrea
45d88631-f06e-4b6c-babb-90da06d78874
Nisar, Tahir M.
6b1513b5-23d1-4151-8dd2-9f6eaa6ea3a6
Torchia, Mariateresa
ca48f74b-a903-437e-b152-711b52bcf27e
Tseng, Hsiao-ting
49d24df4-053f-4fe7-9143-a5eec31fc866
Calabro, Andrea
45d88631-f06e-4b6c-babb-90da06d78874
Nisar, Tahir M.
6b1513b5-23d1-4151-8dd2-9f6eaa6ea3a6
Torchia, Mariateresa
ca48f74b-a903-437e-b152-711b52bcf27e
Tseng, Hsiao-ting
49d24df4-053f-4fe7-9143-a5eec31fc866

Calabro, Andrea, Nisar, Tahir M., Torchia, Mariateresa and Tseng, Hsiao-ting (2022) Establishing trust in the sharing economy: an analysis of organizational, systems and interpersonal level trust. Information Technology & People. (doi:10.1108/ITP-04-2022-0313).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Purpose: in this study, the authors examine how organizational-, systems- and interpersonal-level trust may be required for a smooth functioning of the firms in the sharing economy (SE). The research objective is to explore the trust-building mechanisms of Airbnb, a leading SE organization, and its aim to foster generalized trust. An investigation of the Airbnb's promotion of different trust-building mechanisms will allow to evaluate their effectiveness in how they can help overcome scepticism and distrust between the transacting parties. Consequently, the authors can develop a unique theoretical perspective on generalized trust in SE environments and better understand any trust-related barriers preventing SE transactions. 

Design/methodology/approach: the authors employ a case study approach to investigate the research questions with the aim to fully understand the abstract and complex nature of trust. They focus on Airbnb as the company enjoys a leading market position, being a sharing economy firm. Moreover, the personal nature of accommodation sharing, which is the business of Airbnb, increases users' trust requirements, and so the company must take active steps to promote trust between the transacting parties. The authors adopt thematic analysis to execute the data analysis of the study's findings, which are derived from emergent themes and directed by the research objectives and relevant literature. 

Findings: the results show that users of Airbnb are concerned about the danger of opportunistic hosts, although they are primarily motivated to use the company's services due to its economic benefits. Nevertheless, the success of Airbnb platform stems from the trust that the company has succeeded in establishing among its users, in particular interpersonal trust. Analysis reveals that generalized trust is fostered at an interpersonal level in the form of peer reviews, at an organizational level in terms of brand familiarity and at a systems level in regards to interface design. 

Originality/value: the authors advance the argument that confidence to transact in the social economy stems from a combination of three levels of trust, including organizational-, systems- and interpersonal-level trust. These findings contribute to the body of trust research in information technology and people literature from its unique investigative setting, whilst simultaneously strengthening the primarily speculative research on SE with in-depth empirical evidence.

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PaperSharingEconomyTrustITPIV - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 10 February 2025.
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 29 November 2022
e-pub ahead of print date: 8 December 2022
Keywords: Airbnb, Generalized trust, Interface design, Opportunistic behaviour, Peer reviews, Sharing economy

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 473999
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/473999
ISSN: 1758-5813
PURE UUID: 5a7a25c9-4292-4718-a48f-22eb7d3239ad
ORCID for Tahir M. Nisar: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2240-5327

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 08 Feb 2023 17:49
Last modified: 31 Oct 2023 02:41

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Contributors

Author: Andrea Calabro
Author: Tahir M. Nisar ORCID iD
Author: Mariateresa Torchia
Author: Hsiao-ting Tseng

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