This article explores the important role of liking in the development of the buyer’s trust in the sales rep. The authors argue that liking’s role is richer and qualitatively different from that of the more cognitive antecedents of trust. They posit that many cognitive antecedents of trust operate mainly through liking. They argue that as the buyer-sales rep relationship matures, liking plays an even more important role in influencing trust. The authors empirically test a model delineating the mediating role of liking in developing trust. They find that when the relationship between the buyer and the sales rep is young, liking partially mediates the effect of similarity of business values and fully mediates the influence of frequency of personal interaction on trust. Moreover, as the buyer’s relationship with the rep ages, liking takes the foreground in trust development, while more cognitive antecedents recede into the background.
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Carolyn Y. Nicholson (Ph.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) is an assistant professor of marketing at Stetson University. Her current research areas include forms and uses of communication in distribution channels, trust and commitment in marketing relationships, and Internet marketing. Her research has appeared in theJournal of Retailing, along with numerous national conference proceedings.
Larry D. Compeau (Ph.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) is an associate professor of marketing at Clarkson University. His research has appeared in theJournal of Public Policy & Marketing and theJournal of Business Research. He has recently coedited a special issue of theJournal of Public Policy & Marketing on pricing. His research has appeared in numerous national conference proceedings.
Rajesh Sethi (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh) is an assistant processor of marketing at Clarkson University. His current research areas include new product development, cross-functional teams, Web-based new product development, and electronic commerce. He has published in theJournal of Marketing, theJournal of Marketing Research, theJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science, and theJournal of Social Policy and Public Management. He also has published in numerous national conference proceedings.
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Nicholson, C.Y., Compeau, L.D. & Sethi, R. The role of interpersonal liking in building trust in long-term channel relationships. JAMS 29, 3–15 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1177/0092070301291001