Integrity and Benevolence: an Examination of Their Distinct Roles in Building Consumer Trust

Despite important differences between integrity and benevolence, little has been done in examining the exact domain of each construct in the context of consumer-brand relationships and the distinct role each plays in consumer trust. Through a large scale survey, the present research examines the unique nature of the two constructs and the way in which they affect consumer trust. The findings confirm that perceived integrity and perceived benevolence are two distinct constructs and they affect consumer trust independently with each following a different behavioral pattern. The effects on trust of perceived benevolence and integrity were found to be moderated by consumers’ propensity to trust, information source, and relationship length. Integrity had a stronger effect on trust with consumers who had a low propensity to trust, who obtained brand information primarily from a third-party publication, and who were at the early stage of their relationship with the brand. On the contrary, perceived benevolence equally affected both low and high trusting people. It exerted more influence on people who obtained information primarily through personal communication and who were at the late stage of the consumer-brand relationship. These findings add additional insights into how integrity and benevolence each affects consumer trust. They should help marketing practitioners with their CRM efforts, especially when it comes to conveying their trustworthiness to consumers.


Lan Xu, Fuan Li, Nan Zhou, Zhilin Yang, and Paul Miniard (2011) ,"Integrity and Benevolence: an Examination of Their Distinct Roles in Building Consumer Trust", in AP - Asia-Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 9, eds. Zhihong Yi, Jing Jian Xiao, and June Cotte and Linda Price, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 3-4.


Lan Xu, Wuhan University, PRC
Fuan Li, Washington State University, USA
Nan Zhou, City University of Hong Kong, HK, PRC
Zhilin Yang, City University of Hong Kong, HK, PRC
Paul Miniard, Florida International Unviersity, USA


AP - Asia-Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 9 | 2011

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