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Understanding trust and confidence in web behaviour

Makan, J


J Makan



Trust is recognised as the construct that makes societies function; not only this but it is understood to be the element that makes them successful, wealthier, healthier and wiser. A problem of the trust construct is that, despite its perceived importance on facilitating modern life, it remains a subject that lacks consensus on its definition.

Within literature, when the construct of trust is applied to the Web context, there is further confusion as the construct being referred to as trust in actual fact referring to the construct of confidence. This confusion led to the research in understanding trust and confidence in Web behaviour. In addition to researching the literature, the diary-study interview method was used to investigate into how the constructs of trust and confidence function on the Web. The diary study was designed to act as an observational research method, and in doing so would identify the what and how participants used the Web, with the follow-up interviews extracting the why.

When taking the core-concept understanding of trust (as developed within this thesis), it shows there to be a disparity between trust and its applicability to the Web. The study further supports this view, and from this emerges the key finding that Web interactions are facilitated and driven by confidence – not trust.

Confidence is the construct that drives the Web; what impacts and influences the behaviour of its users. Secondly, and more crucially, confidence is a construct that cannot be created on the Web per se. It is shaped by an individuals' worldview (optimistic / pessimistic), their disposition to risk, their cultural tendencies, their personalities, all of which are factors that are influenced by, and built up on, real-world experiences. Put simply, confidence is created through real-world experiences and it is the real-world atti-tude of an individual that is carried over to govern the nature of their Web interactions.


Makan, J. (in press). Understanding trust and confidence in web behaviour. (Thesis). University of Salford

Thesis Type Thesis
Acceptance Date Nov 19, 2014
Deposit Date Jul 28, 2015
Publicly Available Date Jul 28, 2015


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