It's complicated: Explaining the relationship between trust, distrust, and ambivalence in online transaction relationships using polynomial regression analysis and response surface analysis

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European Journal of Information Systems





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Trust and distrust are considered crucial elements affecting online relationships-particularly those involving electronic transactions. Although some studies propose that they are distinct, others claim that they are merely opposite ends of one continuum. Further adding to the debate is the possibility of ambivalence, a topic that has not been examined in electronic transaction relationships. Unfortunately, current models of trust and distrust have limitations that impede explanations of how-or even if- A mbivalence is generated by feelings of trust and distrust and how these two constructs can best coexist. We thus propose a hybrid model which considers the limitations and strengths of previous models. Namely, we posit that trust and distrust can coexist as separate components with related continua. We use polynomial regression analysis (PRA) and response surface analysis (RSA) to test these complex relationships. Using an empirical study of online consumer behaviour with 521 experienced online consumers, strong empirical validation is found for the model. We examine the effects of ambivalence on the truster's intentions towards a website and find a small positive effect which increases such intentions. PRA and RSA confirm that trust and distrust are most likely separate components-not opposite ends of a continuum-with related continua. The continua within the subconstructs of trust and distrust likely have more complex and interesting relationships than have been considered previously. These findings lead to interesting future research opportunities on trust, distrust and ambivalence using advanced techniques such as PRA and RSA. © 2017 Operational Research Society Ltd.



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