Toward Contextualized Theories of Trust: The Role of Trust in Global Virtual Teams
Although trust has received much attention in many streams of information systems research, there has been little theorizing to explain how trust evokes sentiments and affects task performance in IT-enabled relationships. Many studies unquestionably assume that trust is intrinsically beneficial, and dismiss the possibility that the effects of trust may be dependent on the situation (or conditions) at present. This paper theoretically and empirically examines outcomes of an individual's trust in global virtual teams under differing situations (or conditions). In Study 1, we find that early in a team's existence, a member's trusting beliefs have a direct positive effect on his or her trust in the team and perceptions of team cohesiveness. Later on, however, a member's trust in his team operates as a moderator, indirectly affecting the relationships between team communication and perceptual outcomes. Study 2 similarly suggests that trust effects are sensitive to the particular situation or condition. Combined, the studies find that trust affects virtual teams differently in different situations. Future studies on trust will need to consider situational contingencies. This paper contributes to the literature on IT-enabled relationships by theorizing and empirically testing how trust affects attitudes and behaviors.