Do Salespeople Trust their Customers? Toward an Understanding of Trust in B2B Relationships under Uncertainty: An Abstract

Maria Rouziou*, Itzhak Gilboa, Dominique Rouziès, Riley Dugan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Trust is a fundamental concept in relationships, between humans and organizations alike. It has been noted that trust is essential to almost all business transactions (B2B or B2C); moreover, trust is essential to internal organizational aspects as well. Management scholars define trust as the willingness to be vulnerable to the actions of another party based on the expectation that the other will perform a particular action important to the trustor. This definition, although consistent with the Trust Game in experimental economics, accounts for reciprocity; yet, it fails to account for high risk or uncertainty. For instance, there are cases where the trustor trusts the trustee in a generalized sense without anticipating concrete actions from the trustee. The purpose of this study is to extend management and economics insights by providing a clearer definition of the concept of trust by distinguishing two different types; “trust under risk” and “trust under uncertainty.” To lend support to our contentions, we seek evidence from salespeople and customers relationships, a complex business relational context reflecting the two aspects of trust (e.g., “salesperson A trusts customer B to close the deal” vs. “salesperson A trusts customer B”). Moreover, we model trust by relying on insight from experimental economics and decision theory in order to enhance our understanding of when and how trust is generated and how it can be maintained, lost, or regained when prior beliefs cannot be postulated. Further, we attempt to link the different types of trust with salespeople’s utility outcomes, such as job satisfaction, job embeddedness, and ultimately, individual (subjective and objective) performance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDevelopments in Marketing Science
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages2
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameDevelopments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science
ISSN (Print)2363-6165
ISSN (Electronic)2363-6173


  • Decision theory
  • Risk
  • Sales performance
  • Salespeople
  • Trust
  • Uncertainty


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