Dispositional and situational factors of trust development in computer-mediated communication teams
A review of current literature revealed that organizations are increasingly employing temporary, specialized, and geographically dispersed teams that operate using computer-mediated communication (CMC) technology in order to reduce costs and stay competitive in the global economy. Communication and trust among members are critical factors for the effective functioning of teams. This study examined dispositional, situational, and communication factors influencing the development of trust within the context of CMC teams. The concept of swift trust refers to the presence of trust among members of newly formed teams who have had limited or no prior interaction with each other, as opposed to the conventional notions that trust develops over a period of time. As expected, study results found dispositional (propensity to trust), cognitive (CMC competence), and affective (CMC apprehension) factors had a significant impact on the formation of swift trust. In addition, regression analysis found strong support for swift trust mediating the influence of CMC apprehension on the trustor's satisfaction with communication (both openness and perceived information accuracy). Similarly, support for partial mediation was found for the influence of CMC competence components efficacy and interactions management, and satisfaction with communication openness, but only CMC competence component efficacy on satisfaction with communication perceived information accuracy. The study also looked at the influence of personality traits (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness) on the level of swift trust and their relationship with communication behavior. Significant positive correlations were observed between Extraversion and Conscientiousness, but not Agreeableness, and swift trust. Contrary to expectations, no significant relationship was observed between personality traits and satisfaction with communication, and the hypothesized moderating role of swift trust was not supported. Communication between members of a team reflects the level of trust as well as impact the subsequent development and maintenance of trust at later stages. Communication satisfaction was found to significantly predict the trustworthiness beliefs (ability, integrity, and benevolence). However, the expected moderating role of swift trust was not supported. Finally, trustworthiness beliefs significantly predicted the intention to trust in CMC teams. The study methodology involved a participant sample of 107 undergraduate students that performed usability analyses of several websites as members of dyadic CMC teams. The teams met twice over a period of two weeks to complete the necessary evaluation tasks using an online portal developed by the researcher, and communicating using only a text-based instant messenger (IM). Their course instructors awarded all participants extra credit and teams were awarded gift cards based on their performance on the evaluation task.