Effects of cultural ethnicity, firm size, and firm age on senior executives trust in their overseas business partners: Evidence from China

Crystal X. Jiang, Roy Y.J. Chua, Masaaki Kotabe*, Janet Y. Murray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We investigate trust relationships between senior business executives and their overseas partners. Drawing on the similarity-attraction paradigm, social categorization theory, and the distinction between cognition- and affect-based trust, we argue that executives trust their overseas partners differently, depending on the partners cultural ethnicity. In a field survey of 108 Chinese senior executives, we found that these executives have higher affect-based trust in overseas partners of the same cultural ethnicity as themselves; cognition-based trust is associated with affect-based trust differently when overseas partners are of the same or different cultural ethnicity. We also examine the role of relative firm size and age in shaping intra- and intercultural trust. Relative firm size has a stronger negative effect on executives cognition-based trust if their partners are of a different cultural ethnicity. Although firm age does not have a negative effect on executives affect-based trust as hypothesized, we found firm age to be positively associated with affect-based trust for partners of the same cultural ethnicity. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of this pattern of inter- and intra-cultural trust on international business and networking (guanxi) dynamics in China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1150-1173
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of International Business Studies
Volume42
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Dec
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • China
  • social identity theory
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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