Contractual control, the propensity to trust, active trust development: construction industry

Shao Kai Lu, Hong Yan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the assumptions concerning how the processes that foster trust are influenced by contractual control and managers’ propensity to trust. More specifically, the paper investigates the extent to which distinct types of trust (i.e. cognition- and affect-based trust) are differentially and interactively associated with contractual control and the propensity to trust. Design/methodology/approach: The authors collected survey data on 260 architect–contractor project-based relationships in China. Findings: The results of this paper show that contractual control and a project manager’s propensity to trust are positively related to the managers’ trust in their partners. However, the interaction of the propensity to trust and contractual control has a negative effect on cognition-based trust. Cognition-based trust, in turn, is linked to the unique and interactive relationships between contractual control, the propensity to trust and affect-based trust. Research limitations/implications: While this paper adds to the literature on trust and control, future research is needed to fully understand the differences in interpersonal trust across alliances and countries. Practical implications: These findings provide important implications for firms hoping to facilitate active trust development processes. Originality/value: More is now known about the trust in inter-organizational settings at the individual level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-471
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Business and Industrial Marketing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Construction industry
  • Contracts
  • Control
  • Projects
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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