Customers are influenced not only by how much they trust a company and its representatives but also by how much they trust the broader context in which the market exchange is taking place. In this article, the authors test two rival sociological perspectives regarding the influence of customer trust in the broader context. One perspective proposes that trust in the context replaces trust in individual firms and their representatives. This view suggests that firm/representative trust is not always critical, especially for customers with high trust in the context. An alternative perspective is that trust in the context fosters and legitimates trust in firms and their representatives. This view implies that firm/ representative trust is a necessary mediator of the influence of trust in the context. The authors test predictions based on both perspectives, using empirical results from two studies implemented in two countries. The results from both studies support the proposition that trust in firms and their representatives is a necessary mediator of trust in the broader context.
- Customer relationship management
- Financial services marketing
- Sociological theories