Cognitive Challenges on Digital Exchange Platforms: Exploring Misspecifications of Trust

AbstractDigital platforms are complex, layered, modular systems comprising many different entities, including intermediary organizations, technological infrastructure, peer entrepreneurs, peer consumers, and advertisers. Relationships on these complex platforms are multi-faceted and at mixed levels. This complexity creates cognitive challenges for peer consumers, which may lead to trust misspecifications. Such misspecifications are important, as they may cause social dilemmas and political challenges. Four different misspecifications of trust are discussed and illustrated in the context of Airbnb. We identify boundary conditions that may either exacerbate or attenuate misspecifications of trust. We conclude by discussing the implications for trust research and directions for future research.


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