Defense Date

Summer 6-27-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Information Systems


Business Administration

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Amy B. Woszczynski, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Traci Carte, Ph.D.


Saurabh Gupta, Ph.D.


Trust and distrust have been studied at great length by researchers in the field of information systems and various other fields over the past few decades without reaching consensus on conceptualization and measurement. The goal of this study was to determine if individual trust and distrust are separate constructs or opposite ends of the same continuum. To this end, based on theoretical rationale, an aggregation of extant, validated trust and distrust instruments combined with newly created trust and distrust items were used as input into a rigorous Q-sorting procedure. The Q-sorting process led to the first contribution of this research: a determination that individual trust and distrust are separate and distinct variables and should be measured individually. An empirical field test was then distributed to test the effects of trust and distrust on a downstream variable within the nomological network of trust and distrust, willingness to transact. Over 100 undergraduate students, who are considered to be digital natives, responded to the survey. Through exploratory and confirmatory analyses, the list of 38 items from the Q-sort was narrowed to a parsimonious set of 20 items, exhibiting content, construct, convergent, and discriminant validity. The creation of a list of items to measure individual trust and distrust is the second major contribution of this research. Post-hoc analyses showed significant main effects of trust and distrust, in the theorized directions, on willingness to transact. Additional post-hoc analysis based on quadrant membership, as described by Lewicki et al. (1998), and IT artifact, yielded too few results to make interpretations. Further, since this study made no hypotheses a priori, the post-hoc analyses should be interpreted with caution. Path analysis should be re-examined in future studies with theoretically developed hypotheses. Finally, since exploratory and confirmatory analyses were performed on the same data set, the results should be re-evaluated in the context of a larger, more diverse sample, to further add to the body of knowledge surrounding individual trust and distrust.