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In money we trust? The use of financial compensations to repair trust in the aftermath of distributive harm

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  • Desmet, Pieter T.M.
  • Cremer, David De
  • Dijk, Eric van
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    Abstract

    Trust is vital yet vulnerable in economic exchange relations. In these relations, a widely used strategy in response to distributive harm consists of having the transgressor pay a financial compensation to the victim. This research examines whether financial compensations can increase trust towards a transgressor, and whether the size of the compensation is relevant to this process. We hypothesized and found that whether larger compensations will elicit more trust, depends on how clear the perpetrator's intention to transgress was. Experiment 1 revealed that trust perceptions increased more by a slight overcompensation of the inflicted harm as compared to an exact or a partial compensation, but not if the transgressor's bad intentions became clear through the use of deception in the violation. In Experiments 2 and 3, we replicated these findings and further showed that it is not the use of deception per se, but rather the attribution of bad intent that moderates the effect of compensation size. Experiment 4, using a trust game paradigm revealed that this effect not only occurs for small overcompensations, but also for larger overcompensations.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

    Volume (Year): 114 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (March)
    Pages: 75-86

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:114:y:2011:i:2:p:75-86

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp

    Related research

    Keywords: Trust Trust repair Trust restoration Equality Dictator game Trust game Compensation;

    References

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    1. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
    2. Matthew Rabin, 1998. "Psychology and Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 11-46, March.
    3. Joel L. Schrag, 1999. "First Impressions Matter: A Model Of Confirmatory Bias," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 37-82, February.
    4. Kim, Peter H. & Dirks, Kurt T. & Cooper, Cecily D. & Ferrin, Donald L., 2006. "When more blame is better than less: The implications of internal vs. external attributions for the repair of trust after a competence- vs. integrity-based trust violation," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 49-65, January.
    5. Blount, Sally, 1995. "When Social Outcomes Aren't Fair: The Effect of Causal Attributions on Preferences," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 131-144, August.
    6. Schweitzer, Maurice E. & Hershey, John C. & Bradlow, Eric T., 2006. "Promises and lies: Restoring violated trust," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 1-19, September.
    7. Colin F. Camerer & Richard H. Thaler, 1995. "Anomalies: Ultimatums, Dictators and Manners," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 209-219, Spring.
    8. Cremer, David De & Knippenberg, Daan van, 2004. "Leader self-sacrifice and leadership effectiveness: The moderating role of leader self-confidence," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 140-155, November.
    9. Webster, Cynthia & Sundaram, D. S., 1998. "Service consumption criticality in failure recovery," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 153-159, February.
    10. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, . "Testing Theories of Fairness - Intentions Matter," IEW - Working Papers 063, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    11. De Cremer, David & Van Kleef, Gerben A., 2009. "When being overpaid makes me feel good about myself: It depends on how the other feels," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 793-802, October.
    12. McCabe, Kevin A. & Rigdon, Mary L. & Smith, Vernon L., 2003. "Positive reciprocity and intentions in trust games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 267-275, October.
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    Cited by:
    1. Kim, Peter H. & Cooper, Cecily D. & Dirks, Kurt T. & Ferrin, Donald L., 2013. "Repairing trust with individuals vs. groups," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 120(1), pages 1-14.
    2. Leunissen, Joost M. & Cremer, David De & Reinders Folmer, Christopher P., 2012. "An instrumental perspective on apologizing in bargaining: The importance of forgiveness to apologize," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 215-222.
    3. Haesevoets, Tessa & Reinders Folmer, Chris & De Cremer, David & Van Hiel, Alain, 2013. "Money isn’t all that matters: The use of financial compensation and apologies to preserve relationships in the aftermath of distributive harm," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 95-107.

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