THE ROLE OF TRUST IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND SYSTEMS
[1. Інформаційні системи і технології]
Автор: Романюк Андрій Миколайович, студент, Івано-Франківський національний технічний університет нафти і газу, м. Івано-Франківськ
Trust in information technology (IT) is an important concept because people today rely on IT more than ever before. For example, at the airport, you rely on IT (a reservation system) to remember that you are booked on a particular flight in an acceptable seat. When you send an important package by express mail, you rely on IT to tell you, hour by hour, whether the package has arrived. The Internet has increased reliance on IT by encouraging millions to download music or software, upload digital pictures, or seek new information or new services. Because of the Internet’s open, non-secured structure, trust in the Web itself is an issue. Trust in IT has to do with relying or depending on infrastructure systems like the Web or relying on specific information systems like Microsoft Word.
Formally, the overall trust concept means secure willingness to depend on a trustee because of that trustee’s perceived characteristics. Three main types of applicable trust concepts are used: 1. trusting beliefs, 2. trusting intentions, and 3. trusting behaviors. These concepts are connected.
1. Trusting beliefs means a secure conviction that the other party has favorable attributes, strong enough to create trusting intentions.
2. Trusting intentions means a secure, committed willingness to depend upon, or to become vulnerable to, the other party in specific ways, strong enough to create trusting behaviors.
3. Trusting behaviors means assured actions that demonstrate that one does in fact depend or rely upon the other party instead of on oneself or on controls. Trusting behavior is the action manifestation of willingness to depend.
Each of these generic trust types can be applied to trust in IT. Trusting behavior-IT means that one securely depends or relies on the technology instead of trying to control the technology. For example, one who hits a Web site’s “Download” button demonstrates a willingness to be vulnerable to the software sent to one’s computer – software that may contain viruses. Trusting intention-IT means one is securely willing to depend or be vulnerable to the information technology. This is the psychological state one possesses before hitting the “Download” button. Trusting beliefs-IT means a secure conviction that the technology has desirable attributes. For example, one may believe the system sending the software is reliable, safe, and timely in completing its task.
Trust in information technology has several interesting implications. First, trust in IT should influence use or adoption of a technology. Unless one trusts a software product to reliably fill one’s needs, why would one adopt it? Second, trust in IT is a general assessment of the technology that probably affects other IT perceptions, such as relative advantage or usefulness of the technology. Thus, it may influence beliefs and attitudes that affect intentions to use a technology.
Trust in technology is built the same way as trust in people. When users first experience technology, signals of well-done user interfaces and good vendor reputations will build trust. Reliable, dependable, quality IT performance is the key over time. Effective help functions also improve trust in IT. The entire system infrastructure should demonstrate quality, for deficient software at one level may hurt perceptions at several levels. For example, system security issues must be addressed before an application is trusted.
In addition to trusting beliefs, trusting intentions, and trusting behaviors, two other types of trust deserve mention—dispositional and institution-based trust (McKnight et al., 1998). Disposition to trust is an individual differences concept originating from personality psychology that means a tendency to trust general others. Its IT equivalent is disposition to trust IT, the general tendency to be willing to depend on technologies across a broad spectrum of situations and specific ITs. Institution-based trust is a concept from sociology that relates to structures and situational favorableness that support trust. In terms of IT, institution-based trust in IT means a belief that success with the specific technology is likely because, regardless of the characteristics of the specific technology, one believes either that the technical situation is favorable or that structural conditions like guarantees, contracts, or other safeguards exist. Both disposition to trust technology and institution-based trust in technology foster trusting beliefs, trusting intentions, and trusting behaviors regarding a specific technology.
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