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Developing trust in a company is a significant part of building the company-consumer relationship. Previous studies have sought to identify the positive consequences of trust such as loyalty and repurchase, but the question of what builds trust remains largely unanswered. To answer the question, we developed a model that depicts the relationships among transparency, social responsibility, trust, attitude, word-of-mouth (WOM) intention, and purchase intention. An online survey was conducted with a US nationwide sample of 303 consumers, and the data were analyzed using the structural equation modeling method. The results indicated that consumers’ perceptions of a corporation’s efforts to be transparent in the production and labor conditions and to be socially responsible by giving back to the local community directly affected these consumers’ trust and attitudes toward the corporation, and indirectly affected their intentions to purchase from and spread positive WOM about the corporation. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Kang, Y., Hustvedt, G. (2014). Building trust between consumers and corporations: The role of consumer perceptions of transparency and social responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics, 125(2), 253-265.

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