Evoking the Leap of Faith online: An Exploration of the inner workings of Trust Signals

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Research has so far largely overlooked trust building processes in online contexts. Specifically, while previous research has shed light on relevant signals as antecedents, little attention has been paid to how such signals are actively induced in one-way communication - that is when no prior interaction is given, and reactions cannot be observed immediately. This paper addresses this gap by adopting Goffman's logic in Presentation of Self (1959). I explore how cues and dramaturgical mechanisms are used to evoke signals which relate to three dimensions of trust: ability, benevolence, or integrity. I analyze 19 campaign videos on the largest reward-based crowdfunding platform - Kickstarter - and extract bundles of visual and verbal cues that are enacted via dramaturgical mechanisms. This leads me to three dramaturgical strategies that foster online trust, in particular the leap of faith. The study contributes to trust literature by offering early evidence into how the leap of faith is created online and by providing insights into the creation of trust signals. It also contributes to crowdfunding literature by a more nuanced understanding of signaling.
Original languageEnglish
ProceedingAcademy of Management Proceedings
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26.07.2021
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings


  • AOM Annual Meeting Proceedings 2021


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