Fig. 2.4 Trustor and trustee
in trust relationships
Preconditions of Trust
While the contexts we consider here are quite disparate, there are a number of
preconditions of trust that uniformly apply across all the different contexts we
consider. It is generally agreed that trust is a relationship involving two entities,
a trustor and a trustee. The strength of the relationship is used as a measure of trust.
The trustor trusts the trustee to accomplish a specific goal in a specific context.
Trust allows the trustor to take actions and make decisions under conditions of
uncertainty and from a position of vulnerability (Fig. 2.4 )by depending on the
trustee . In a trust relationship, the trustor encounters uncertainty at the decision time
due to a lack of information or an inability to verify the integrity, the competence, the
positive intentions, and other characteristics of the trustee. The trustor is vulnerable
to suffering a loss if expectations of future outcomes turn out to be incorrect, i.e., if
her trust is misplaced. Vulnerability and uncertainty together can be summed up as
risk , the possibility that an action may lead to a loss.
Choices and Dependence
When making a trust evaluation, dependence describes to which degree the trustor
relies on the trustee for her specific goals (Fig. 2.5 ). Many outside factors may
determine the dependence. When judging trust for information, the ability of the
trustor to determine the credibility of the information is crucial. If the trustor is not
familiar with a specific topic, she may rely solely on the trustee's trustworthiness
and competence in determining information trust. When dealing with an unknown
trustee, the trustor may rely on the trustworthiness of a recommendation for that
trustee. The trustor depends on the trustee for a specific choice, sometimes called
as the trusting choice . For the decision to involve trust, there must be at least one
other choice in which the trustor does not depend on the trustee.