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Trust has become a major issue among online shoppers. This underresearched subject will predictably determine the success or failure of e-commerce vendors. The lack of face-to-face interaction, the inability to inspect goods and services prior to purchase, and the asynchronous exchange of goods and money all contribute to the perceived risk of purchasing online and the resulting need for trust. Trust is particularly critical for small and new Internet ventures confronted by the liability of newness (Stinchcombe 1965). Lacking, among other things, a name that is readily recognized in the marketplace, entrepreneurial Internet ventures require trust if they are to succeed. The research presented in this article addresses this issue by building on the work of McKnight and colleagues and considering the effects of propensity to trust on trusting beliefs. Specifically, the author predicts that propensity to trust will significantly affect perceived ability, benevolence, and integrity but only for those individuals with limited direct experience. Based on a sample of web survey participants, the author found that propensity to trust significantly impacted perceived ability and benevolence for individuals with limited direct experience only. No statistically significant results were found for the effects of propensity to trust on perceived integrity.



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