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Trust intentions in readers of blogs

James D. Doyle (Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada)
Louise A. Heslop (Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada)
Alex Ramirez (Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada)
David Cray (Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada)

Management Research Review

ISSN: 2040-8269

Article publication date: 3 August 2012

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Abstract

Purpose

The blogosphere is an active arena for the communication of topic‐area claims by marketer and non‐marketer sources. Determinants of influence in the blogosphere have not been well documented. The purpose of this paper is to investigate trust in bloggers, in a framework involving characteristics of bloggers and blogs and blog reading outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

Blog‐reader perceptions of bloggers and blogs are derived and tested on a sample of blog readers for their effects on trust formation. Tests of mediation examine the role of perceived personal outcomes of blog reading in trust‐formation processes.

Findings

Trust formation is predicted by engagement knowledge of the blogger, unique reading experiences, and belief that the blog improved the marketspace. Blogger authoritative knowledge negatively impacted trust intentions. Positive experiences from blog reading mediate relationships between blog and blogger characteristics and intentions to trust.

Research limitations/implications

Blog readers examined in this initial investigation may not be totally representative of the general population of blog readers. Replications with other populations are needed.

Practical implications

The paper's findings suggest knowledge is an essential characteristic of a trustworthy blogger, but knowledge unrelated to everyday information needs holds little perceived value for readers. Firms operating blogs may wish to de‐emphasize their topic‐area authoritative knowledge and project a voice of topic‐area engagement.

Originality/value

The paper identifies salient trust‐related blogger and blog characteristics and provides an indication of a domain‐specific trust‐development process that is applicable to marketer and non‐marketer information sources.

Keywords

Citation

Doyle, J.D., Heslop, L.A., Ramirez, A. and Cray, D. (2012), "Trust intentions in readers of blogs", Management Research Review, Vol. 35 No. 9, pp. 837-856. https://doi.org/10.1108/01409171211256226

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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