«Trust in Electronic Commerce - a Language Action Perspective Hans Weigand, Willem-Jan van den Heuvel Infolab, Tilburg University P.O.Box 90153, 5000 ...»
From the Language Action perspective we have described in section 2, this development certainly makes sense. Communication should always be viewed in the context of a lifeworld.
However, developing trust should be supported somehow. Holland and Lockett, 1998 hypothesize that shared information systems amongst economic partners will serve to speed up the trust distrust development process. The "shared information system" may be the Trusted Broker as described in the previous section, but may also include the sharing of knowledge in the form of developing a common vocabulary or developing common contracts and scenarios cf. section 4.3.
Leiwo and Heikkuri, 1998 have discussed the use of ethics in open public communication networks. They propose an ethical "layer" that describes certain rules of conduct, but in contrast to other approaches, they argue that this ethical layer should be embedded in a "social contract" layer. In other words, rst we must develop domains where subjects can be allowed or not. By becoming a member of the domain "the club", the subjects have to agree on some common ethical principles. Within a group, there must be room for further ethics negotiation. Although we do not follow Leiwo and Heikkuri, 1998 in all details, we agree that domains must be supported by the Trusted Broker, that subjects are allowed to domains by a Domain Administrator who identi es subjects see also van den Heuvel and Weigand, 1997. And within the domain, subjects can negotiate more and more elaborated contracts and scenarios. Negotiation support can be an important added-value of the Trusted Broker.
4.3 The dynamics of trust Usually, trust is dealt with in a static fashion, that is, trust exists or does not exist, or trust is enabled by certain measures or not. However, trust can evolve over time. For the measures that we take, we should also consider the e ect of these measures on the trust building process.
Let us start at the zero level in which there is no trust at all. In that case, business transactions can only be performed by direct exchange or by the involvement of a trusted third party. For international trade, direct exchange is not an option, unless we consider the installation of local branches as a means to support this. When there is a minimal level of trust, either by virtue of the trusted third party, or by the community environment, the level of trust can be raised by the use of trustworthy trade procedures. Crucial for the further development of trust is the experience acquired through repeated interaction.
To achieve a next higher level of trust, it is necessary to build up a common world, in terms of knowledge, norms and values. It should be remarked that this requires di erent types of communicative acts and probably much richer media including non-verbal communication to achieve this. At this point, trustworthy trade procedures, as they are used in the previous stage, may become a hindrance. A control message may increase the security, but at a meta-level Bateson, 1972, it may be an expression of distrust "I need this message because I do not trust you". Therefore, the parties may decide to skip some control messages. However, it is also possible, and perhaps advisable, to keep the control messages and agree on the fact that it is not a matter of trust or distrust but a matter of transparancy that just decreases the probability of errors and unintended misunderstanding. The value of transparancy must be compared with the costs of the control messages, which may be very low in the case of automated processing.
5 Conclusion In this paper, we have taken a Language Action perspective on trust. The conceptual framework of L A gives us the opportunity to put the notion of "trust" in a wider context.
The central claim is that electronic commerce services, as any kind of information system, must be developed on the basis of "good" communication design. This includes, among others, that messages, or electronic documents, must not be studied in isolation, since they only make sense, or have meaning, in a world constituted by communicating subjects.
In the near future, we will start an industrial project in which a Trusted Broker will be developed. In this project, both the security measures as described in section 4.1 and the communicative actions described in section 4.2 will be worked out and implemented in the form of a prototype system.
Important open research questions concern the contents of the communication patterns.
These questions relate to the present research on institutions Picot et al, 1997. Institutions, whether in the form of a bilateral agreement or in the form of auctions or legal frameworks, are ways to stabilize market interactions. Institutions can and should be analyzed from an economic perspective - that is, how the goals of the partners are served, the e ciency of the process, the symmetry etc. - and from a communicative perspective, since communicative action is the enabler.
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