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Do Chinese Trust Chinese? A Study Of Chinese Buyers And Sellers In Malaysia

Robert W. Armstrong, Siew Min Yee

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The objective of this article is to identify the major determinants of trust in the context of industrial buying behavior among ethnic Chinese buyers and sellers in Malaysia. The authors adopt the dyadic approach to examine empirically the antecedents and consequences of trust to secure a realistic assessment of the determinants and outcome of trust. The authors employ structural equation modeling to test the proposed trust models. The study identifies perceived intention, organizational trust, strength of personal relationship, dialect fluency, and perceived similarity in cultural values as major determinants of trust among ethnic Chinese industrial buyers and sellers in Malaysia. One important managerial consideration is the need for companies to place more emphasis on the cultural and relational factors that affect trust. The results of the study confirm that the presence of trust enhances buyer–seller relationships among ethnic Chinese businesspeople. Along with satisfaction, trust between the buyer and seller dictates the probability of future interaction between the exchange parties, and thus trust is a central concept in the business exchange process.