Understanding trust across cultures: an empirical investigation

Namporn Thanetsunthorn, Rattaphon Wuthisatian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose: In today’s business world, trust is an essential ingredient for business success, as it serves as a foundation for enhancing a network of positive relationships among businesses, clients, employees and stakeholders. This study aims to shed light on a deeper and more substantial understanding of trust by examining the casual association between national culture and trust. Design/methodology/approach: The study empirically investigates the extent to which cultural factors promote and constrain the level of trust using a mixed sample of 46 developed and developing countries observed over the period of 1990-2014. Findings: The study provides new empirical evidence that trusting behavior is explained systematically by national culture. Countries with high individualistic and high long-term oriented cultures are the most favorable environment that fosters trust among people in society. In contrast, individuals from countries with the expression of high power distance and high uncertainty avoidance cultures appear to exhibit less trust in others. Practical implications: The study provides managerial implications, especially for managers and management consultants in a global context, regarding the cultural relevance of trust in the new and foreign environment, and the effective management of trust among culturally diverse workforces and business relationships. In addition, the study should serve as a supplemental learning material in the business and management disciplines to demonstrate the essential role of trust in the global business environment. Originality/value: The study adds to the existing body of knowledge on trust by offering new empirical insights into how culture plays an influential role in the creation of trust. This serves as a good starting point for academic scholars and practicing professionals to further develop appropriate management strategies and execution plans for managing trust across different cultural settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-314
Number of pages29
JournalReview of International Business and Strategy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 20 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management


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