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Toward an ecological perspective on the process of trust creation: the case of digital infrastructures


  • Luciano PILOTTI


  • Andrea GANZAROLI


This paper develops an ecological perspective on trust. Trust is a social capital. The value of this capital is continuously reproduced and renewed through the process of social inclusion and interaction, which takes place between agents belonging to knowledge creating communities and networks. The members of these networks, through socialization, accumulate and expand their collective capacity to ensure the value of trusted relationships. However, the value of the trust created is mainly local. It is only replicable and appropriable within the specific networks' boundaries, which have shaped the value of this social experience. Transferring trust requires codifying its meaning and value in a format that is appropriable by parties that are located outside the specific context of origin. It has to be translated into a formal code that is globally understood and whose value is ensured by a global network of institutions. Our claim in this paper is that is not sufficient to codify trust in order to sustain the global process of trust creation. The sustainability of this process requires stimulating the development local compatibility between codified and, indeed, global standard of trust, and tacit/local standards of trust. Achieving this aim requires expanding participation and interdependence rather than centralizing power and control. This is a precondition to sustain the regeneration of the social capacity to create trust through social interaction

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  • Luciano PILOTTI & Andrea GANZAROLI, 2004. "Toward an ecological perspective on the process of trust creation: the case of digital infrastructures," Departmental Working Papers 2004-14, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Universit√† degli Studi di Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2004-14

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    1. Ottati, Gabi Dei, 1994. "Trust, Interlinking Transactions and Credit in the Industrial District," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(6), pages 529-546, December.
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