The importance of trust and community in developing and maintaining a community electronic network

Alina Oxendine, Eugene Borgida, John L. Sullivan, Melinda S. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Focusing on two rural cities in Minnesota, this paper analyses ways in which these communities have gone about providing information technology to their citizens. This paper will explain why one city has chosen to take an entrepreneurial approach to networking and the other city has chosen a more collaborative approach, promoting equal access for its citizens. Based on interviews, focus groups, and surveys in the two cities, we find that these divergent approaches are related to fundamental cultural differences in the two communities. One city seems to have 3 more pronounced reservoir of social capital, meaning that people in this community tend to be more trusting, have more cohesive social ties and are prone toward collaboration. Cooperation and social trust, particularly among community leaders, seem to have played large roles in triggering the development of a community electronic network. Moreover, we discover that political engagement and interpersonal trust among the citizenry in this city seem to be pivotal in sustaining and perpetuating the community endeavor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-696
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Human Computer Studies
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by grants from the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota, NSF Grant #SBR9619147, and funding from the University of Minnesota's College of Liberal Arts to Eugene Borgida and John L. Sullivan. Melinda Jackson has been supported in part by a NSF graduate fellowship.


  • Community electronic network
  • Digital divide
  • Rural technology
  • Social capital
  • Trus


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