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Moral Integrity and Relationship Commitment: An Empirical Examination in a Cross-Cultural Setting

Abstract

The impact of integrity on organizational and/or interpersonal relationships is well documented in the literature but its influence on customer relationships such as consumer trust and relationship commitment has been largely overlooked. The present study attempts to fill this research gap by examining the effect of integrity on consumer relationship commitment in a cross-cultural setting. Survey data from the United States and China were used to test the hypothesized relationships. The results show that integrity has significant impacts on both consumer trust and relationship commitment, and culture significantly moderates the effect of integrity on consumer commitment. Specifically, integrity was found to affect American respondents’ relationship commitment both directly and indirectly with the direct effect being greater and the indirect effect being smaller relative to those of Chinese respondents. In contrast, integrity had only indirect effect on relationship commitment with Chinese consumers, highlighting the importance of consumer trust in the integrity-commitment relationship. The implications for research and business practice were discussed.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The instruction given to the respondents reads as follows: We would like you to think of how the company that markets the brand behaves in dealing with customers like you or in conducting business in general, and then indicate your agreement or disagreement with the following statements.

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Li, F., Zhang, S. & Yang, X. Moral Integrity and Relationship Commitment: An Empirical Examination in a Cross-Cultural Setting. J Bus Ethics 151, 785–798 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3246-z

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Keywords

  • Integrity
  • Consumer trust
  • Relationship commitment
  • Culture
  • Morality
  • Cross-cultural
  • Research