In platform we trust: How interchangeability affects trust decisions in collaborative consumption


  • Chameroy Fabienne
  • Salgado Stéphane
  • de Barnier Virginie
  • Chaney Damien


  • Trust
  • Collaborative consumption
  • Interchangeability
  • Sharing economy
  • Online platforms
  • Social exchange theory
  • Multigroup analysis

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Collaborative consumption (CC) describes exchanges among individuals mediated by an internet platform. This study examines the conditions under which individuals are likely to make a trust decisions in a complex triadic relationship involving a seller, a digital platform and a buyer. Building on relevant research, we propose that the interchangeability of buyers (e.g., where a buyer has been a seller) has an effect on their trust decisions because it leads them to engage in other-focused perspective taking. Through a quantitative study (N = 908), this research thus reveals the moderating effects of interchangeability. For noninterchangeable buyers (buyers who do not have experience as sellers), trust decisions are based on reputational cues (platform and seller reputation) and credibility trusting beliefs. For interchangeable buyers, trust decisions are primarily based on credibility and benevolence trusting beliefs rather than reputational cues. The findings also indicate that for both parties, there is a hierarchy of trust or a transfer effect from trust in the platform to trust in the sharing partner. Accordingly, we contribute to the literature on trust by examining hierarchical trust in terms of consumer-to-consumer platforms, identifying the significant role of interchangeability and revealing that other-focused perspective taking is a key mechanism in trust decisions.

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