Title: Building trust in virtual organisations: a case study of trust and gender in a scientific virtual organisation breeding environment

Authors: Dhiraj Murthy; Macgill Eldredge

Addresses: Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths College, University of London, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW, UK ' Liquid Wireless, 2 Monument Sqr Ste 902, Portland, ME 04101, USA

Abstract: This paper examines an online life science virtual organisation breeding environment (VBE), an incubator of temporary or more permanent virtual organisations (VOs). In the VBE studied, scientists could connect and collaborate with one another using various social media technologies such as profiles, messaging, blogs, and forums. This article is particularly focused on the ways in which social media technologies facilitate interactions between participants in the 'WomenScientists1' group. This study employs content analysis of all textual discourse on the group and social network analysis to understand the relationship of users in this network. This paper seeks to address three core questions. First, we explore what types of interactions facilitate trust formations. We find that interactions that share personal information positively elicit trust from other users. Second, we examine which demographic attributes contribute to the growth of trust interactions. We find that a user's gender and their membership of the group are correlated with trust interactions. Third, we find that if users are unilaterally trusted (via a 'leap of faith'), they are likely to reciprocate, forming bilateral or multilateral trust relationships.

Keywords: life sciences; virtual organisation breeding environment; VBE; trust; gender; online communities; sentiment analysis; online forums; virtual organisations; virtual enterprises; mistrust; virtual communities; web based communities; social media; social network analysis; SNA; demographics.

DOI: 10.1504/IJODE.2013.057024

International Journal of Organisational Design and Engineering, 2013 Vol.3 No.2, pp.185 - 205

Published online: 26 Jul 2014 *

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