The sharing economy is experiencing explosive growth around the globe in which trust plays a crucial role and builds the foundation of the services. With the rise of the sharing economy and the increasing numbers of cross-contextual users, this research aims at the lack of trust transference possibilities across the Peer-to-Peer applications and has the goal to find out whether and how trust can be transferred between the platforms, so that new users do not have to create their reputation from scratch every time they join a new platform. First, this research provides an in-depth literature review of trust transfer theories. Secondly, a conceptual research model for the role of the imported trust in the context of the sharing economy is outlined and analysed by proposing and evaluating a questionnaire using structural equation modeling. Throughout the study, a three-dimensional scale of trust, i.e. ability, benevolence and integrity, is validated in the context of the sharing economy. The experimental study shows that both the overall and subdimensional trust in the provider is directly affected by the overall trust in the platform, the perceived reputation as well as the perceived social presence. The study also provides empirical evidence for the existence of trust transferability. The findings show that in addition to the immanent ratings, imported ratings also significantly affect the perceived reputation of the provider positively. Finally, this paper discusses further details of the trust transfer processes and broadens implications for future research.
Keywords: Sharing Economy, Trust, Trust Transfer, Reputation, Peer-to-peer