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Understanding the effects of substantive responses on trust following a transgression

  • Dirks, Kurt T.
  • Kim, Peter H.
  • Ferrin, Donald L.
  • Cooper, Cecily D.
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    Four experiments were conducted to investigate the implications of 'substantive' responses for the repair of trust following a violation and the cognitive processes that govern how and when they are effective. These studies examined two forms of substantive responses, penance and regulation, that represent different categories of trust repair attempts. The findings from Studies 1-3 suggest that both can be effective to the extent that they elicit the crucial mediating cognition of perceived repentance. Data from Study 2 revealed that trustors saw signals of repentance as more informative when the transgression was due to a lapse of competence than due to a lapse of integrity. Study 4 compared these substantive responses to apologies (a non-substantive response) and revealed that, despite their surface-level differences, they each repaired trust through 'perceived repentance.' The paper offers an integrative framework for understanding the relationships among a range of trustor responses.

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

    Volume (Year): 114 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (March)
    Pages: 87-103

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:114:y:2011:i:2:p:87-103
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp

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    1. Farrell, Joseph & Gibbons, Robert, 1989. "Cheap Talk with Two Audiences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1214-23, December.
    2. Lorenz, Edward, 1999. "Trust, Contract and Economic Cooperation," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(3), pages 301-15, May.
    3. 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.
    4. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
    5. Nakayachi, Kazuya & Watabe, Motoki, 2005. "Restoring trustworthiness after adverse events: The signaling effects of voluntary "Hostage Posting" on trust," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 1-17, May.
    6. Charness, Gary B & Cobo-Reyes, Ramón & Jiménez, Natalia, 2007. "An investment game with third-party intervention," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt7qg338r3, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    7. Joseph Farrell & Matthew Rabin, 1996. "Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 103-118, Summer.
    8. 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.
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