Managing trust in direct selling relationships

Shing Chung, Patrick POON, Gerald ALBAUM, Shiu Fai, Peter CHAN

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate trust in salespersons of direct selling companies. The major purpose of the study is to examine three alternative measures of trust and to assess the effects of consumer trust in the direct selling salesperson on intended purchase behavior in a non-Western culture, Hong Kong. Design/methodology/approach – The research was designed as a personal interview survey of purchasers and non-purchasers of product from direct selling companies in Hong Kong. A street-intercept method of personal interview was used in three major shopping areas. The major measurement was of three different measures of trust in buying behavior from direct selling companies. Findings – Survey results show that the measures of trust are not equally significant in being related to intention to repurchase. Only one measure, “Affect Trust”, is statistically correlated to repurchase intention. This measure is based on emotions which are affective in nature. Originality/value – Gaining trust is crucial to all salespeople, industrial and consumer alike, as trust facilitates an exchange relationship while mistrust hinders it. Consequently, having valid measures of trust is essential to ensuring that exchange relations are positive. The research to date has been in the context of Western cultures and is dated (ten or more years ago). The paper examines trust in a non-Western culture. In addition, the sales relationships studied in the past have been non-direct selling. The paper expands this domain as it looks at direct selling to consumers in a non-fixed business location.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)588-603
Number of pages16
JournalMarketing Intelligence and Planning
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • Hong Kong
  • Trust
  • buyer-seller relationships
  • direct selling
  • non-store retailing


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