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Chapter 20: Measuring the Decision to Trust Using Metric Conjoint Analysis
20 Measuring the decision to trust using metric conjoint analysis Richard L. Priem and Antoinette A. Weibel INTRODUCTION Conjoint analysis is a quantitative technique for capturing the utilities, preferences, understandings, perceptions, beliefs, or judgments of decision-makers (Arkes and Hammond, 1986), and ultimately for identifying the relative contributions of attributes and their levels to decisionmakers’ actions (Hair et al., 1987). Its name is derived from the two words ‘considered’ and ‘jointly’ (McCullough, 2002), which together capture its fundamental use characteristic – an individual making a decision (for example addressing a trust situation) based on multiple attributes that must be considered together. Because conjoint analysis examines the decision-making process by asking trustors actually to make decisions, rather than by relying on the theories or processes trustors say they use in retrospective accounts, it provides trust researchers with the ability to capture the ‘theories-in-use’ (Argyris and Schon, 1974) of trustors, instead of their ‘espoused theories’. These ‘theories-in-use’ represent the underlying cognitive processes that drive a trustor’s decision to accept vulnerability in particular trust situations. Despite the potential of conjoint analysis for examining trustors’ decision processes, the technique has seen sparse use in trust research. In the sections that follow, we first discuss why conjoint analysis – a quantitative technique for studying decision making – might be useful for trust researchers. We then explain conjoint methods, classify them in relation to other decision analysis techniques, and provide examples of the relatively few trust-related conjoint studies to date. We conclude by identifying several areas where conjoint studies could...
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