Does collectivism influence an individual's willingness to trust others? Conflicting empirical results from past research and the role of trust in international marketing make this question important to resolve. We investigate this question across cultures and at the individual level with four studies using multiple methods. Study 1 establishes correlational evidence between societal-level collectivism and individual-level trust propensity with results from a multi-level analysis of data from over 6,000 respondents in 36 different countries. Study 2 offers an individual-level analysis using the trust game, introducing a more rigorous behavioral outcome variable. Study 3 contributes causal evidence at the individual level based on experiments in both the US and China and offers evidence of social projection as the explanatory mechanism. Finally, Study 4 demonstrates managerial relevance by using advertising to prime collectivism and assessing its effect on trust in the firm.
Westjohn SA, Magnusson P, Franke GR, Peng Y. EXPRESS: Trust Propensity across Cultures: The Role of Collectivism. Journal of International Marketing. August 2021. doi:10.1177/1069031X211036688
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Journal of International Marketing