Trust and Privacy in Distributed Work Groups

by Denise Anthony, Tristan Henderson, and James A. Kitts

Published in Social Computing and Behavioral Modeling, Edited by Huan Liu, Michael J. Young, and John J. Salerno. New York: Springer.


Trust plays an important role in both group cooperation and economic exchange. As new technologies emerge for communication and exchange, established mechanisms of trust are disrupted or distorted, which can lead to the breakdown of cooperation or to increasing fraud in exchange. This paper examines whether and how personal privacy information about members of distributed work groups influences individuals’ cooperation and privacy behavior in the group. Specifically, we examine whether people use others’ privacy settings as signals of trustworthiness that affect group cooperation. In addition, we examine how individual privacy preferences relate to trustworthy behavior. Understanding how people interact with others in online settings, in particular when they have limited information, has important implications for geographically distributed groups enabled through new information technologies. In addition, understanding how people might use information gleaned from technology usage, such as personal privacy settings, particularly in the absence of other information, has implications for understanding many potential situations that arise in pervasive computing environments.

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant IIS-0433637.

Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recomendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).