Mapping societal trust and trust in negotiations

Jingjing Yao*, Jeanne M. Brett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: It is important to infer and diagnose whether a negotiator is trustworthy. In international negotiations, people may assume that high-trust nations are more likely to produce more trustworthy negotiators. Does this assumption hold universally? This study aims to address this research question by investigating the relationship between national-level societal trust and individual-level trust in negotiations. Design/methodology/approach: This study uses a cross-sectional research design and a sample of 910 senior managers from 58 nations or regions. The hypotheses are tested by hierarchical linear modeling. Findings: This study draws on the dynamic constructivist theory of culture to propose moderated hypotheses. Results show that societal trust predicts individuals’ social perceptions of attitudinal trust in negotiations, only when cultural face norms are weak rather than strong; societal trust predicts individuals’ social perceptions of behavioral trust in negotiations (i.e. high information sharing and low competitive behavior), only when negotiators process information analytically rather than holistically. Originality/value: This study is the first to examine the relationship between national-level societal trust (i.e. generalized trust) and individual-level trust in negotiations (i.e. particularistic trust). It uses a large-scale, multinational sample to show that relying on societal trust to infer trust in negotiations is valid only in Western societies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)826-847
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Conflict Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 5 2021


  • Face norms
  • Mindset
  • Negotiation
  • Societal trust
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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