Trust has been widely recognized as a key enabler of organizational success. Prior research on organizational trust, however, has not distinguished between the potentially varying bases of trust across different stakeholder groups (e.g., employees, clients, investors, etc.). We develop a framework that distinguishes among organizational stakeholders along two dimensions: intensity (high or low) and locus (internal or external). The framework also helps to identify which of six potential antecedents of trust (benevolence, integrity, competence, reliability, transparency, and identification) will be relevant to which type of stakeholder. We test the predictions of our framework using survey responses from 1,296 respondents across four stakeholder groups from four different organizations. The results reveal that different antecedents of trust are indeed relevant for different stakeholder types, and provide strong support for the validity of the intensity and locus dimensions.
This publication is Hauser Center Working Paper No. 39. The Hauser Center Working Paper Series was launched during the summer of 2000. The Series enables the Hauser Center to share with a broad audience important works-in-progress written by Hauser Center scholars and researchers.