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Levels of Organizational Trust in Individualist Versus Collectivist Societies: A Seven-Nation Study


  • Lenard Huff

    () (School of Business, Brigham Young University-Hawaii, 55-220 Kulanui Street, Box 1956, Laie, Hawaii)

  • Lane Kelley

    () (Department of Management and Industrial Relations, College of Business Administration, University of Hawaii-Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii 96823)


Competitiveness in global industries increasingly requires the ability to develop trusting relationships. This requires organizations, and the individuals they are comprised of, to be both trustworthy and trusting. An important question is whether societal culture influences the tendency of individuals and organizations to trust. Based largely on Yamagishi's (1994, 1998a, b) theories explaining trust, commitment, and in-group bias in collectivist cultures, this study examines potential differences in levels of trust between individualist and collectivist cultures. Survey data was collected from 1,282 mid-level managers from large banks in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Malaysia, and the United States. We first study differences in how individuals from individualist and collectivist societies trust ingroups versus out-groups. This provides an important foundation for hypotheses regarding differences in individual propensities to trust and two measures of organizational trust: internal trust (trust within the organization) and external trust (an organization's trust for suppliers, customers, etc.). Findings show higher levels of propensity to trust and organizational external trust in the United States than in Asia.

Suggested Citation

  • Lenard Huff & Lane Kelley, 2003. "Levels of Organizational Trust in Individualist Versus Collectivist Societies: A Seven-Nation Study," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(1), pages 81-90, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ororsc:v:14:y:2003:i:1:p:81-90

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    Cited by:

    1. Clampit, Jack & Kedia, Ben & Fabian, Frances & Gaffney, Nolan, 2015. "Offshoring satisfaction: The role of partnership credibility and cultural complementarity," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 79-93.
    2. repec:spr:manint:v:54:y:2014:i:1:d:10.1007_s11575-013-0190-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Ratan J. S. Dheer, 2017. "Cross-national differences in entrepreneurial activity: role of culture and institutional factors," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 48(4), pages 813-842, April.
    4. Boris Bauke & Thorsten Semrau & Zheng Han, 2016. "Relational trust and new ventures’ performance: the moderating impact of national-level institutional weakness," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 1007-1024, December.
    5. Flora F. T. Chiang & Thomas A. Birtch, 2010. "Appraising Performance across Borders: An Empirical Examination of the Purposes and Practices of Performance Appraisal in a Multi-Country Context," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(7), pages 1365-1393, November.
    6. repec:spr:manint:v:47:y:2007:i:1:d:10.1007_s11575-007-0003-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Bianchi, Constanza C. & Saleh, Md. Abu, 2011. "Antecedents of importer relationship performance in Latin America," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 258-265, March.
    8. Andrew Tirelli & Swee C. Goh, 2015. "The relationship between trust, learning capability, affective organisational commitment and turnover intentions," International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 15(1), pages 54-68.
    9. repec:kap:jmgtgv:v:21:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10997-016-9367-z is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:spr:manint:v:48:y:2008:i:1:d:10.1007_s11575-008-0005-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:taf:oabmxx:v:4:y:2017:i:1:p:1359445 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. repec:hur:ijarbs:v:7:y:2017:i:9:p:1-18 is not listed on IDEAS


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